You’re Not off the Hook: Marijuana-Related Crimes in California

I know that America has become more accepting of nonmedical marijuana use, which is why I wanted to study states where marijuana is legal and the laws surrounding this drug. California seemed like the easiest state to research because I know there’s a lot of information out there regarding their laws and regulations.

My biggest question regarding states where marijuana is legal is how the substance is regulated and what marijuana-related crimes still exist. Marijuana is still a drug, and there are many ways you can get in trouble if you don’t abide by the rules of the state. I think it’s important for citizens of California to realize these rules so they don’t find themselves in trouble without understanding that they’ve broken the law.

Marijuana-Related Crimes in California

California legalized the possession of nonmedical marijuana on January 1st, 2018; however, marijuana use is only legal for individuals over the age of 21 and you’re only allowed to possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana or eight grams of concentrated cannabis under California law. 

You can also grow up to six marijuana plants in your home if you choose. If you exceed the marijuana possession limits and get caught, the police can charge you with up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $500. If you’re under the age of 21 and you get caught with marijuana, you can get charged with an infraction and sentenced with a fine.

Selling marijuana or possessing marijuana with the intent to sell is still illegal in California unless you have a state or local license. Violating these laws can result in a misdemeanor, but may result in a felony if you have a previous criminal record.

Federal Laws Regarding Marijuana

Under the United States Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means if you get caught transporting or possessing marijuana across state lines, you can get in serious trouble.

While it’s unlikely that federal prosecutors in California will condemn you for marijuana use since you’re abiding by state laws, it’s always smart to obey federal laws when in public workplaces or federal buildings.

If you live in California and have questions about what marijuana-related activity may or may not be illegal, you can research the topic or speak to an experienced attorney about your situation. Researching the issue before participating in the act is the best way to stay out of trouble and enjoy marijuana without repercussions.