If you’re living in Oakland, California, or anywhere else in the state, you may have heard that California “decriminalized” marijuana. That’s true to a point, but you can still get in trouble with the law if you’re caught with pot and the penalties depend on how much marijuana you have, your criminal record, and what you intended to do with it.
Before we discuss the penalties for marijuana possession in California, let’s take a look at the definition of decriminalization and what it means to you. Decriminalization doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook completely when it comes to marijuana.
It means that if you’re caught with a small amount of marijuana for personal use, you won’t go to jail and you won’t be convicted of a drug crime, however, it’s still an infraction under California law.
As of this writing, a total of 21 states have decriminalized marijuana, and those include California, Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado. More states are expected to loosen their marijuana laws in the upcoming years, especially as more and more medical establishments begin to recognize its medicinal benefits.
Medical Uses for Marijuana
In 2014, CNN ran an article on the 7 uses for marijuana, citing pain as the most common condition that medical cannabis is prescribed for. Studies found that marijuana is particularly effective against pain involving nerve damage (neuropathic pain), but it’s also used for dozens of other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, concussions, Alzheimer’s disease, and glaucoma.
While only time will tell if one day marijuana will no longer be an infraction in California, in the meantime, East Bay residents need to be aware that the state still imposes penalties on certain marijuana offenses. Additionally, people can get arrested for DUI of drugs for driving under the influence of marijuana in California.
To learn more about these penalties, continue reading below:
- Possession of 28.5 grams (about one ounce) or less is an infraction, punishable by a maximum $100 fine.
- Possession of 28.5 grams or less on school grounds is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.
- Possession of more than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.
Please be aware that while possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana for personal consumption is merely an infraction, that all changes if you give the pot away to someone else or possess the marijuana with the “intent to distribute.”
For example, if you possess any amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute, you commit a felony, which is punishable by 16 months to 3 years in prison. Additionally, if you sell any amount of pot, it’s a felony, punishable by 2 to 4 years in prison.
Are you facing marijuana charges in Oakland? If so, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free case evaluation!