What are the Drug Possession Laws in California?

What are the Drug Possession Laws in California?The well-known saying “How California goes, so goes the nation” typically is linked to the state’s leadership in developing innovative technologies and introducing revolutionary political reforms. However, the saying has relevance for drug possession laws, as many states have passed drug possession laws that are similar to the drug possession law enacted in California.

This does not mean California has gone soft on drug offenders. If you face a drug possession charge, you must act with a sense of urgency by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles drug-related cases.

The Meaning of Possession for Sale

A large number of legal terms can overwhelm defendants in drug possession cases. One term you should learn is called ‘Possession for sale.” A California prosecutor has the legal power to charge a suspect with simple possession if the suspect was carrying one or more of the substances listed in the California Health and Safety Code. If the prosecutor has enough evidence that demonstrates the suspect intended to sell the illegal substance or substances, the prosecutor can file a charge of possession for sale or “Purchase for the purpose of sale.”

The Myth Behind Decriminalization

Although California has decriminalized marijuana for medicinal use, as well as for recreational use by adults, the state has not decriminalized most of the other controlled substances listed in the Health and Safety Code. This includes derivative and synthetic versions of banned controlled substances. The lightest sentence for a simple drug possession charge is a misdemeanor that can carry a fine up to $1,000. A judge overseeing a simple possession case can also demand community service. A possession for sale charge can lead to a felony conviction.

Proposition 64

Passed into law in 2016, Proposition 64 dramatically changed California’s cannabis laws. Although adult-use of marijuana is now legal, there are several stipulations that many Californians do not know about.

Proposition 64 and legislation that followed allow for adult-use marijuana in the following cases:

  • Possession of up to 28. 5 grams by adults at least 21 years old
  • Consumption of cannabis products in a user’s private residence or in a public place that has received a California-issued license for public marijuana consumption
  • Possession of up to eight ounces of a marijuana concentrate for adult-use

Proposition 47

Enacted by the California legislature in 2014, Proposition 47 reduced the charges issued for a large number of simple drug possession cases from a felony to a misdemeanor. It also gave prisoners serving felony sentences for drug possession the right to petition the state to be resentenced under the new legal guidelines. This means that if you face a felony drug charge or charges, you should seek legal representation to have the charge or charges reduced to a misdemeanor. If you are incarcerated for a felony drug possession conviction, you should speak with a California-licensed criminal defense lawyer to petition for resentencing.

The Fine Line Between Recreational Use and Intent to Sell

When a law enforcement agency charges a suspect with intent to sell, the agency tries to establish a pattern that links the presence of drugs to one or more factors.

  • Firearms found on private property
  • An unusual amount of foot traffic on and around private property
  • Discovery of a large value of cash
  • Drug measuring equipment like a scale and small plastic bags
  • A large quantity of a controlled substance that is banned by the Health and Safety Code

If you face an intent to sell charge when you use a drug recreationally, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense. The State of California might change the initial intent to sell charge to a simple possession charge.

Contact the Chambers Law Firm today to get the legal representation you deserve. You can submit the online form or call our office at 714-760-4088.

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