In November 2016, California residents voted in favor of Proposition 64, which moved to legalize the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and since 2018, recreational marijuana use has been generally legal in California. Under the new law, adults aged 21 and over are legally allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of dried marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
Although the state has now legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana use, there are still restrictions associated with the drug. California Health and Safety Codes 11359 and 11357 outline various possession laws, which, if violated, may result in criminal charges. If you are facing marijuana possession charges in Santa Barbara, you should consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Marijuana Regulations Outlined in California Health and Safety Codes 11359 and 11357
In California, the legalization of marijuana has been accompanied by certain rules and regulations. Under California Health and Safety Code 11357, it is illegal to:
- Possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana or more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis
- Possess marijuana or concentrated cannabis if you are under 21
- Possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis on the grounds of a school providing K-12 instruction during their operating hours
Additionally, California Health and Safety Code 11359 prohibits the possession of marijuana with intent to sell—unless you have the proper licensing.
The Potential Penalties of a Marijuana Possession Charge
If you are caught with a quantity of marijuana over the legal amount, you may be charged with a marijuana possession charge. Some of the penalties that you may face from a marijuana possession charge include:
- If you are under 21 and are found in possession of marijuana or concentrated cannabis, you may be charged with an infraction. Defendants that are 18 and under may be required to participate in drug counseling and community service. In addition to these penalties, defendants 18 and over may face an additional fine of $100.
- If you are over 21 and are found in possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $500.
- If you are over 18 and are found in possession of marijuana or concentrated cannabis on the grounds of a K-12 school, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. For a first offense, you may have to pay a fine up to $250.
- If you are under 18 and are found in possession of marijuana or concentrated cannabis on the grounds of a K-12 school, you may be charged with an infraction. Potential penalties for this infraction include drug counseling and community service.
These are just a few of the potential consequences you may face if convicted of various marijuana possession charges. If you are facing a marijuana possession charge and have a history of prior convictions, you may face additional penalties. Additionally, depending on the circumstances, getting caught in possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana could be an indication that you had an intent to sell. If the prosecutor pursues a possession of marijuana with an intent to sell charge, you may face much more serious misdemeanor charges, or possible even felony charges depending upon the specific facts and circumstances.
Potential Legal Defenses for Marijuana Possession Charges
If you are facing marijuana possession charges, it is important to consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can help you fight the charges. There are a variety of defense approaches a criminal defense lawyer may employ in your case. Common legal defenses for marijuana possession charges may include:
- The arresting officer lacked probable cause.
- Your Fourth Amendment rights were violated. Under the Fourth Amendment, every citizen has the right to due process, which includes legal search and seizure procedures.
- The marijuana in question was not yours.
- You were unaware that you were in possession of illegal quantities of marijuana. Although ignorance of fact may be a defense, ignorance of law is not a valid defense.
- The police abused their power. If the police used entrapment, illegal surveillance, or any intimidation factors when discovering the drugs, your defense attorney may be able to assert a technical defense on your behalf.
A skilled criminal defense attorney will look at all the factors surrounding your case and develop the best defense strategy specific to your situation.
Consult an Experienced Santa Barbara Marijuana Possession Lawyer
If you are facing marijuana possession charges in Santa Barbara, the Aron Law Firm is here to help. We provide clients facing marijuana possession charges with a comprehensive analysis of their case. Mr. Aron works tirelessly to get the best outcomes for his clients. By limiting our client roster and the associated caseload, we are able to give more time and attention to each and every case.
To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced marijuana defense lawyers, call today at (805) 500-7536 or fill out our online contact form.