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Your Guide to Marijuana Charges in California

Marijuana has become a hot topic in the state of California since it became legal for personal use in November of 2021. Despite its legalization, there are still numerous caveats and pitfalls that the average person may not be fully aware of surrounding the possession, use of, and sale of marijuana in California. In this blog post, we’re going to be examining what the California law has to say about marijuana possession, possible areas of concern for civil drug charges, and what you should do if you are dealing with a marijuana charge.

What does California law say about marijuana possession?

When it comes to possessing marijuana in the state of California, individuals of legal age are only permitted to have amounts less than one ounce in their possession at any given time. If you exceed this amount, you’re subject to the related penalties, which could result in a drug charge on your permanent record.

What are the possible risks of marijuana use or possession that could result in civil drug charges?

Marijuana is considered legal in the state of California but is technically illegal on a national scale. This statute has been in place since 1937 when the Marijuana Act of 1937 was passed. Currently, you must be over the age of 21 to possess any amount of marijuana legally. You also may not sell or possess it with intent to sell without a legitimate license through the state and local administrations. Even if you have these licenses, you must do your due diligence to ensure that you are not at risk for selling to minors or those who are under the age of 21, as this in and of itself can be a crime.

There are many different consequences that you may face if you violate any of the general rules above, which we’ve outlined below:

Marijuana possession under the age of 21

Marijuana possession by individuals who are under the age of 21 can result in a minimum fine of $100. If they are under the age of 18 at the time of the possession, they are still subject to the same fine schedule with the addition of potential community service or other court-mandated consequences.

Marijuana possession of a quantity that’s more than one ounce

If you are of legal age but in possession of marijuana that exceeds the one-ounce limitation, you could be subject to hundreds of dollars in fines, probation, and several months in jail. You do not need to have intent charges or any other type of affiliated drug charges to be eligible for this type of punishment. The exception for this is with concentrated cannabis due to recent legislation updates and does not extend to other types of related products, including:

● Hash

● Hashish

● Wax

● Dabs

● Oils

● Extracts

● Other iterations of marijuana-related products

Intent or actual sale of marijuana products without a license

This is one of the heavier risks vs. punishment profiles and can be often seen with sellers who work the streets. If you are charged with the intent to sell marijuana-related products without a license, you could be eligible for up to 3 years in prison and other associated fines or fees. You may also be eligible for longer if you make any actual sales off of your products. This is because the licensure process ensures quality of product and distribution safety as much as possible. Going around this opens you up to additional risks and deterrents that the state can impose to make this option less ideal.

What to do if you’re charged with a marijuana-related drug charge in California

If you’re charged with a marijuana-related drug charge in the state of California, reach out to your legal council right away. Your criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected through every step of the process and advise you on your next right step. Additionally, you may consider:

1. Gather any documentation that you have

Your attorney works best when they are well-informed and knowledgeable about every aspect of your case. Organizing any information you have related to your case (i.e. supporting documents, communications, etc.) can be helpful and assist in the investigation and defense. For example, if you are dealing with a possession charge, you may consider showing your legal team a copy of your medical marijuana card. If you’re caught in a sales charge, show your applicable licensure and business documents.

2. Don’t try to self litigate

Drug charges can be especially difficult to litigate due to different exceptions and diversions in the law at this time. It’s recommended that you do not attempt to self-litigate, and instead let the legal teamwork on your behalf to solidify your defense.

3. Find affordable legal representation

Finding affordable legal representation to defend your case is vital to ensure that you are equipped with the arguments and assistance you need to beat the charges. The legal experts at Arete Law are here to help you with your criminal charge in the San Diego area. Our team of lawyers is equipped to handle the nuances of drug-related cases and defend on your behalf thanks to years in the industry and a long track record of success.

For more information about our affordable legal representation packages, visit our website at To set up a free consultation to discuss more go to this link and schedule a time that works best for you.

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