Possession of Marijuana Laws

What are the consequences of a California marijuana possession charge?

In late 2010, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to reduce the charge for possession of marijuana (up to one ounce) from a misdemeanor charge to a civil infraction. The fine of up to $100 remained the same, but now a jury trial will no longer occur and this infraction will not appear on an individual’s criminal record. Schwarzenegger stated that this change would save the state of California a considerable amount of money.

The New Possession of Marijuana Law

This new possession of marijuana law went into effect on January 1, 2011. Prior to this law change, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was considered a misdemeanor, with the charge being expunged from criminal records after two years had passed.

Larger Amounts of Marijuana

If a person is in possession of a greater amount of marijuana, this act is considered to be a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by up to six months in jail or up to $500 in fines. A charge for possession of concentrated cannabis or hashish can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, first-time offenders may be eligible for a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time.

Medical Usage

Certain medical patients and their primary caregivers can legally possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, these individuals must have a doctor’s recommendation to legally be in possession of marijuana.

Underage Possession Charges

If minors under the age of 21 are convicted of a marijuana (or alcohol/other drug related) charge, these minors will automatically receive a twelve-month license suspension – regardless of whether the charge had anything to do with driving.

Have you been arrested for a California possession of marijuana charge? Contact Robert Ernenwein to obtain a completely free consultation with an experienced Torrance criminal defense attorney.