Overview of Marijuana Laws in California

Legal issues regarding marijuana are one of the most common in the State of California. Below are a list of state laws.

California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Proposition 215 – Health & Safety Code Section 11362.5

Amended state law that allows the use and legal access to marijuana when prescribed by a doctor. A patient is allowed to possess, transport and grow marijuana for their personal use. 11362.5(d) Section 11357, relates to possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relates to cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written approval of a physician.

California Senate Bill 420
Health & Safety Code Sections 11362.7

This clarified the scope of the Compassionate Use Act. A patient or caregiver may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana per patient. Also, patient or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than six mature or twelve immature plants per qualified patient. Even though California State Law allows the personal use and possession of marijuana for medical purposes, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can still arrest patients who are using medical marijuana legally under state law. However, the decision did not overturn the medical marijuana laws in California, which still protects patients.

California Health & Safety Code Section 11357

It is illegal to knowingly possess marijuana unless it has been legally authorized by a physician for medical purposes.

11357(a) Possession of Concentrated Cannabis

This can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor crime. The maximum sentence is up to three years in prison and a $500 fine.

11357(b) Possession of Under an Ounce of Marijuana

Normally, you will only be issued a citation to appear in court. Fine up to $100. No jail or probation is required.

11357(c) Possession of Over One Ounce of Marijuana.

The maximum sentence for this charge is up to 6 months in County Jail and/or fine of up to $500.

California Health & Safety Code Section 11358 – Cultivation of Marijuana

Anyone individual who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries or processes marijuana, unless legally authorized by a physician for medicinal purposes, is guilty of a felony crime, regardless of the amount.

California Health & Safety Code Section 11359 – Possession with Intent to Sell Marijuana

It is illegal to sell, provide, give away, or attempt to give away any marijuana unless legally authorized by a physician for medicinal purposes. Possession with the intent to sell marijuana is a felony crime. “Sale” is the exchange of marijuana for cash, services, favors or other benefits. Penalty: The maximum sentence is up to three years in state prison.

California Health & Safety Code Section 11360 – Transportation of Marijuana

Transportation of over one ounce is a felony crime. It is illegal to transport into the state, sell, furnish, give away; or attempt to give away any marijuana. The maximum sentence is up to four years in state prison. 11360(b) Transportation of less than one ounce is a misdemeanor.

Charged with a marijuana offense?

If you are facing state or federal marijuana criminal charges, contact our Los Angeles criminal attorneys at Cron, Israels and Stark immediately to schedule a free case evaluation. Federal and state drug laws allows the government to seize your assets if they can prove they were acquired with the illegal proceeds of drug crime activity. Once a forfeiture proceeding is started, all of your assets could be seized and your bank accounts frozen while the drug investigation proceeds. Our drug defense lawyers will act immediately to challenge criminal forfeiture allegations by the government; call our offices today to learn how we can help you fight the charges.