Marijuana Possession And Sales

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Former Narcotics Prosecutors Now Los Angeles Marijuana Possession And Sales Defense Lawyers

The California drug crime of Marijuana possession has evolved over decades of decriminalization. It is hard to imagine how a simple possession of Marijuana charge could have resulted in up to 10 years in prison as it did in 1954. Although possession for personal use is no longer a prison eligible drug crime in the overwhelming majority of Los Angeles Marijuana possession cases, there are certain factors that can increase the sentencing you face if charged with possession of Marijuana. The punishment can be as minor as that of a traffic violation, or as serious as a misdemeanor drug crime, depending on the amount of Marijuana you were found in possession of. In addition, if you are charged with Possession of Concentrated Cannabis, and have prior serious felony convictions or you are a registered sex offender, you could face felony drug charges.

Los Angeles possession of Marijuana defense attorneys Paul Takakjian and Stephen Sitkoff have specialized in defending drug crimes in Southern California since 1987. As former senior prosecutors who previously prosecuted narcotics offenses in LA, both Mr. Takakjian and Mr. Sitkoff meticulously examine each of the circumstances surrounding their clients’ arrests’, specifically the probable cause for search and seizure. Evidence seized as a product of an illegal search could be suppressed, dealing a significant blow to the prosecution’s case. Contact our West Los Angeles office now at (888) 579-4844 for a free no-obligation case review to learn what your options are and how we can help.

HS 11357(b) | Possession Of Under 1oz Of Marijuana

The punishment for Marijuana possession can be charged as either a misdemeanor or infraction. This determination is made by the amount of drugs you are found in possession of. Since 2011, possession of less than an ounce of Marijuana has been prosecuted as an infraction under HS 11357(b). Similar to most traffic violations in Los Angeles, Marijuana possession of less than an ounce cannot result in a drug arrest, nor criminal record if you are convicted. While the standard fine for possessing less than an ounce of Marijuana is $100, your defense attorney could negotiate a dismissal through a diversionary sentence, or by producing your valid medical Marijuana prescription in court.  

HS 11357(c) | Possession Of Over 1oz Of Marijuana

Possession of a controlled substance under HS 11357(c) makes it a misdemeanor drug crime in California to possess (without a prescription) over an ounce of Marijuana. Punishment for possessing over an ounce of Marijuana is much harsher, and the penalties can result in up to 6 months in Los Angeles County Jail, up to a $500 fine, court-ordered drug education classes, and informal probation. Although Marijuana possession for personal use has been steadily decriminalized and cannot result in felony drug charges unless aggravating circumstances exist, a misdemeanor conviction for possession of a controlled substance can have potential long-term effects on your life, such as in future background checks for employment, professional licensing, and citizenship.

HS 11357(a) | Possession Of Concentrated Cannabis

Possession of concentrated cannabis is punished more harshly in Los Angeles due to its higher concentration of THC compared to conventional Marijuana buds and leaves. Concentrated cannabis possession is typically charged as a misdemeanor drug crime in California. However, it can be elevated to a felony drug charge with more serious punishments if you are a registered sex offender or have prior serious felony convictions. As a misdemeanor, possession of concentrated cannabis carries the following penalties in California:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Summary probation
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Community service or labor
  • Criminal record

As A Felony:

  • Up to 3 years in California State Prison
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Formal probation
  • Court ordered drug education program
  • Community service or labor
  • Criminal record

Health & Safety Code 11359 | Possession Of Marijuana With Intent To Sell

Although Prop. 47 decriminalized virtually all drug crimes in LA involving possession of controlled substances for personal use, the punishment for possession for sale of Marijuana was left unaffected. As a straight felony prosecuted under HS 11359, a first offense possession of Marijuana with intent to sell is punishable by up to 3 years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Furthermore, Marijuana possession for sale is ineligible for drug diversion, as are all drug crimes involving possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. Although possessing a large amount of Marijuana can enhance the penalties you face for your drug sales and distribution charge, you can still be prosecuted for possession with intent to sell even if the amount of Marijuana in your possession falls within the reasonable range of personal use. This is due to HS 11359 describing ‘intent to sell.’ Therefore, possessing under an ounce of marijuana with the substance individually packaged in small baggies, along with a large amount of cash and/or digital scale could result in felony Marijuana possession for sale charges.

Medical Marijuana Cases

Although possession of Marijuana for medicinal purposes was made legal in 1996, you can still be arrested or cited for possession of marijuana if you are unable to produce your medical marijuana prescription or recommendation at the time of police contact. Therefore, it is extremely important that you carry your recommendation at all times while in possession of your legally prescribed marijuana. While your valid medical Marijuana prescription makes it legal for you to possess and ‘medicate’ with Marijuana, common crimes in Los Angeles involving medical Marijuana users in legal possession of cannabis or possession for sale of Marijuana, and DUI under VC 23152(e).

Call Our Los Angeles Marijuana Possession And Sales Attorneys To Learn How We Can Help You

We have successfully defended misdemeanor and felony drug crimes involving Marijuana in Los Angeles since 1987. The punishments and consequences can vary depending on which type of Marijuana charge you face and although jail time is rare for 1st offenders, the most significant consequence you face is a potential criminal record. Contact us now at (888) 579-4844 to learn more about how we can help you, or to schedule an appointment to meet in our West Los Angeles office.  For our clients’ convenience, we also maintain satellite locations in each of the following cities: Torrance, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Encino, Woodland Hills, West Covina, Oxnard, Westlake Village, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.

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