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# ># 416 Marijuana laws

mp3 #416 California Marijuana Laws (mp3 file)


Simple or mere possession of marijuana is still against the law in California, but it is just a misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of possessing 28.5 grams, or approximately one ounce, or less of marijuana, the only penalty is a fine of up to $100.00. The same is true of transporting or giving away 28.5 grams or less of marijuana.

When you are arrested for possessing, transporting, or giving away one ounce or less, you are not taken to the police station or to jail. The arresting officer will release you on the spot, if you can show the officer satisfactory evidence of your identity, and if you sign a promise to appear in court. It is similar to signing a traffic ticket, and you are not admitting any guilt when you sign a promise to appear.

To avoid a conviction for simple possession of any amount of marijuana or hashish, and to avoid the penalties for cultivation of marijuana, if it is for your personal use, the court may divert your case to a community program of drug education, treatment, or rehabilitation, where you would attend weekly meetings for a specified period of time. The diversionary program is available to you only if it is your first marijuana offense, and you meet all the other requirements listed in section 1000 of the California penal code. An advantage of the diversionary program is that when you successfully complete the program, the original marijuana arrest is removed from your record, and it is considered never to have happened.

If you are convicted of not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, while inside a school or on the grounds of a school, it is a misdemeanor, but the penalty may be as much as 10 days in county jail or juvenile hall, or a fine up to $500, or both. This does not apply to colleges, but only to schools from kindergarten up through 12th grade. This applies only to hours when the school is open for classes, or other school-related programs.

If you are convicted of simple possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, it is still a misdemeanor, but the penalty may be as much as six months in jail, or a fine up to $500, or both.

Other marijuana offenses are felonies, which may be punished in county jail for up to one year, or by terms in state prison, ranging from 16 months up to seven years, depending on the crime.

Possession of marijuana for sale can result in 16 months to 3 years in prison, as can the growing or cultivation of marijuana.

The sale of any amount of marijuana, whether less than one ounce or more than one ounce, can result in a prison term of two to four years. Transporting or giving away more than one ounce also carries a prison term of two to four years.

If you are an adult, age 18 or older, and you involve a minor under the age of 18 in marijuana, it is a felony offense. Prison terms of three to seven years may be imposed for inducing a minor to use marijuana, or for selling or giving away any amount of marijuana to a minor, or for using a minor to sell, give away, or transport marijuana for you or someone else.

It is no longer a crime in California to possess paraphernalia for smoking or using marijuana. It is no longer a crime in California to be present in a room or place where marijuana is being smoked or used. And it is no longer a crime in California to use marijuana or to be simply under the mild influence of marijuana.

This information applies only to marijuana, and not to any other drug. It does not generally apply to hashish, which is a concentrated form of marijuana. The simple possession of any amount of hashish is punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine up to $500 or both, or by a term of 16 months to three years in state prison. Penalties for other crimes involving hashish are generally higher than similar crimes involving marijuana.

If you are arrested or convicted for simple possession of any amount of marijuana, does that arrest or conviction stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life? No, it does not. The record is automatically destroyed after two years, or when you reach age 18, if you possessed marijuana on school grounds. So if you are asked on any application form about arrests or convictions, you may answer "no" regarding an arrest or conviction for simple possession of marijuana, if more than two years have passed since the arrest and conviction, or if you reached age 18 after possessing marijuana on school grounds, and if the arrest or conviction occurred since January 1, 1976.

If your arrest or conviction for simple possession of marijuana took place before 1976, however, the record has not been automatically destroyed. The same is true for convictions before 1976 for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, or for presence in a room or place where marijuana is used, or for using or being under the influence of marijuana. To have these records destroyed, you have to apply to the state department of justice and you may be required to pay a fee for the costs of destroying your record, but no more than $37.50.

Under the Compassionate Care Act of 1996, Californians also now have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes when it is considered appropriate and necessary by a physician.

If you would like to read the marijuana laws yourself, they are found in sections 11357 through 11362 of the California health and safety code, which is available in any law library, and in some public libraries.

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