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Is Marijuana Still a Crime in California?

If you smoke pot, you may be a little confused about California’s marijuana laws, as many people are. After all, you’ve heard all about how in Oregon and Washington it’s legal to have 1 ounce or less of marijuana and there’s no penalty. What about California, what is legal and what is not?

California has decriminalized marijuana possession to some extent, but our state’s laws are not as lenient as our neighbors Oregon and Washington.

Typically, if a state has decriminalized marijuana possession, it means that you won’t go to jail and you won’t get a criminal record for being caught with a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. In effect, it would be much like getting a traffic ticket – a minor offense.

Possession vs. Sale or Delivery

California’s marijuana laws make possessing 28.5 grams or less of marijuana an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine. However, the state draws a big line between “possession” and “sale or delivery.”

If you possess 28.5 grams or less of marijuana for personal consumption, you will be slapped with that $100 fine we mentioned above.

On the other hand, if you sell any amount of marijuana to someone, the game changes and you face felony charges and 2 to 4 years in state prison.

If you use a minor while selling or transporting marijuana, for example, if you had your child bring marijuana over to a neighbor’s house to sell it to them, you could be charged with a felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison.

Gifting 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $100 fine.

Possession for personal use:

  • 28.5 grams or less is an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine
  • Possessing more than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months in jail and a fine not to exceed $500.

The penalties for possession are slightly different for minors. If the offender is under the age of 18 and he or she possesses 28.5 grams or less of marijuana, they are guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500 (first offense), or they can be committed to a detention center for up to 10 days.

If you are facing drug charges for marijuana or another illegal substance in Oakland, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free consultation!


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