Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyers

Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyers Explains California Marijuana Laws

Because cannabis law is constantly changing, it’s crucial to stay up to date by talking to Sacramento criminal defense lawyers so you can ensure you are legally out of any trouble. Decriminalization of cannabis in the state of California goes back as far as 1975, when possession of small amounts (under an ounce) was established as a civil, instead of criminal, offense under Senate Bill 95 (SB95). Possession of under 28.5 grams (equal to one ounce) of cannabis was made a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine. When you add all the relevant fines, it really ended up costing around $480. Possession of higher amounts, possession on school grounds, and cultivation carried more severe punishments.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law California State Senate Bill 1449 effective January 1, 2011. This bill reduced punishments for possession of an ounce or less of cannabis from a misdemeanor to an infraction, which is similar in severity to traffic violations. The maximum fine associated with a cannabis infraction was $100 and there were no requirements to make court appearances or contributions to a criminal record.

California’s medical cannabis laws were established in 1996, when individuals suffering from specified illnesses in the state of California were permitted to grow and obtain cannabis for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor under the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215). This law also protected physicians from being prosecuted for recommending cannabis to patients. Proposition 215 had some very vague phrasing that resulted in multiple California Supreme Court rulings and subsequent laws, including the establishment of an identification system for medical marijuana patients as well as formation of organizations to provide cannabis to those with the appropriate recommendations. If you have specific marijuana questions as it pertains to your situation, it’s best to consult with experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyers who know the current cannabis laws in California.

2016 Cannabis Law

In 2016, Californians voted to pass Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This new law permits adults 21 and over to purchase, possess, and consume up to an ounce of cannabis in their private homes or in establishments with a license for cannabis consumption without a doctor’s recommendation. Additionally, all adults will be permitted to grow up to 6 cannabis plants and to keep the resultant flowers, so long as it is done in a secure area and is not visible to the public.

The majority of criminal sanctions relating to cannabis use and possession were dissolved immediately following the general election, though the regulation of business, production facilities, and cannabis consumption establishments will take place over time. There should be places to purchase and use cannabis by January 2018.

Included in the immediate effects are the legality of possession, sale, and distribution of cannabis in all forms. There is no crime preventing any Californian over the age of 21 to possess or distribute cannabis. Anyone can apply for a license, the infrastructure of which should be ready in 2018.

Individuals who were charged with cannabis-related crimes can petition to have their records reflect what the charge would have been if Proposition 64 had been in effect at the time of their arrest. If you or someone you know had been charged with any type of crime relating to cannabis, contact experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyers immediately.

Recreational Restrictions

Though everyone about 21 is allowed to grow, possess, and distribute cannabis, there are still some limitations that apply to recreational users. Sacramento criminal defense lawyers can best explain as it pertains to your circumstance but as a general overview, some of these regulations do not apply to medical cannabis users:

  • Possession of over one ounce is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 or a jail sentence of up to six months
  • Selling cannabis without a license is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 or jail for up to six months
  • Unlike medical users, recreational use of cannabis is prohibited in public
  • It is illegal to consume cannabis while driving or as a passenger of a car, plane, or boat – Additionally, there is an “open container” law for cannabis, prohibiting an opened container of cannabis to be in a motor vehicle
  • Employers may implement drug screens and enforce “drug-free” policies
  • Landlords are permitted to ban the possession of cannabis on their property.
  • This law does not apply to federal property, including national parks.

Driving Under the Influence

It is unlawful to drive while impaired by any drug or alcohol. Similar to with alcohol use, the instance of consuming cannabis does not make the operation of a motor vehicle illegal. It is only when the driver is impaired by the use of cannabis that it becomes unlawful to drive. Given the level of subjectivity to “impairment”, it’s necessary you speak with highly skilled Sacramento criminal defense lawyers if you’ve been arrested after consuming marijuana and driving. Police officers can determine impairment through field sobriety tests and may require the driver to take a drug test to check for the influence of drugs. Since cannabis use is evident in urine samples for very long periods, blood samples can check more recent use and more accurate levels of cannabis for non-chronic users. Chronic users of cannabis are likely to have levels of cannabis in their blood, even if they are not under great influence of the drug. Chronic users would be wise to choose to take a urine test since that would be easier to argue in court.

Call Experienced Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyers If You’ve Been Arrested For Cannabis-Related Crimes

Getting arrested for any criminal charge in California can be a pretty stressful and traumatic experience. Having a compassionate, skilled and dedicated attorney by your side can make all the difference. Give us a call at (916) 441-4888 to speak to one of our experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyers.