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California Marijuana Laws

Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Possession for Personal Use

Possession of up to and including 28.5 grams of marijuana is an infraction punishable by a fine of $100. Possession of more than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. If the amount possessed is 28.5 grams or less but the person is 18 years of age or older and the possession occurred on school grounds, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 days imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. If the offender was younger than 18 years of age, then the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $250 for the first offense and a fine up to $500 or commitment to a detention center for up to 10 days.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by 16-36 months imprisonment.

Sale/Delivery

Sale or delivery of any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by 2-4 years imprisonment. However, a gift or mere transportation of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to $100. If a person is arrested for this misdemeanor, they shall be released upon presentation of sufficient identification and signing of a written promise to appear in court.

Delivery or attempted delivery without compensation of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual who is 14-17 years old is a felony punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment. Delivery or attempted delivery without compensation of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual who is under the age of 14 is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Sale or attempted sale of any amount of marijuana by an individual aged 18 years or older to an individual under 18 years of age is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.

Cultivation

Cultivation of any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by 16-36 months imprisonment.

Hash & Concentrates

In California, hashish or concentrates are referred to as “concentrated cannabis”. Possession of concentrated cannabis is punishable by a fine of $500 and a term of imprisonment no longer than 1 year.

The penalties associated with the manufacture of hashish or concentrates depends on what method was used during the manufacture. If the manufacturing process involved extraction chemicals, such as butane, then it is considered manufacture by means of chemical synthesis of a controlled substance. Manufacture by means of chemical synthesis of a controlled substance carries a fine no greater than $50,000 and a term of imprisonment of 3, 5, or 7 years as determined by the court. If the manufacturing process utilized screens, presses, or any other means not involving a chemical synthesis, then the offense is considered unauthorized processing of marijuana. Unauthorized processing of marijuana carries a term of imprisonment 16 months, 2 years, or three years as determined by the court.

Apart from the provisions mentioned, concentrated cannabis is included within the definition of marijuana for all other offenses, such as intent to sell, providing to a minor, etc. For information concerning those offenses, check the California marijuana laws section of this website.

Paraphernalia

There is no penalty for the simple possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Sale, delivery, possession with intent to sell or deliver, and manufacture with intent to sell or deliver marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by 15-180 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $30-$500. Delivery of marijuana paraphernalia by an individual aged 18 years or older to a minor at least 3 years his junior is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Sentencing

Possession for personal use, using or being under the influence of marijuana, presence in a room where a marijuana violation occurs, or cultivation of marijuana if the amount is for personal use are offenses that are eligible for deferred entry of judgment if certain conditions are met. These include: no prior convictions for controlled substances violations; the offense charged did not involve violence; there is no evidence that narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs were involved; the offender has never had probation or parole revoked; the offender has not completed this deferred entry within 5 years of the time of the charged offense; and the offender has no felony convictions within 5 years of the time of the charged offense.

Probation may be available for marijuana offenses. As a condition of probation for controlled substances violations, offenders must participate in education or treatment if the court determines that it will benefit the offender. Sentences for many violations may not be eligible for probation or suspension if the offender has been previously convicted of a felony offense involving a controlled substance.

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations. Upon conviction for sale, possession with intent to distribute, or cultivation of marijuana, the seized property becomes the property of the state. If law enforcement seizes property which it does not intend to use as evidence and the seizing agency does not refer the case to the Attorney General for forfeiture proceedings within 15 days, then the property must be returned. If the Attorney General intends to pursue a forfeiture proceeding, then a person claiming interest in the property has 30 days from actual notice or publication of notice of the proceedings to respond.

Miscellaneous

Involvement of a minor in a drug offense – Using a minor in the unlawful sale or transport of marijuana is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Inducing a minor to use marijuana is also a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.

Drug program fee – Any violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act results in a fine up to $150 in addition to the authorized fine for the offense.

Drug program fee – Any violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act results in a fine up to $150 in addition to the authorized fine for the offense.

Civil damages – A person who participates in the illegal marketing of marijuana is liable for civil damages caused by these actions.

Loitering for drug activities – It is a misdemeanor to loiter in a public place with the intent to commit certain controlled substances offenses.

Suspension of Driving Privileges – A controlled substance conviction can result in suspension of driving privileges for up to 3 years if the use of a motor vehicle was used in or incidental to the offense. For each drug-related conviction that a person under the age of 21 receives, their driving privileges are suspended for 1 year.

OFFENSE PENALTY INCARCERATION MAX FINE

Possession

Personal Use

28.5 grams or less infraction N/A $ 100
28.5 grams or less, over 18 years, and occurred on school grounds misdemeanor 10 days $ 500
28.5 grams or less, under 18 years misdemeanor 10 days* $ 250
More than 28.5 grams misdemeanor 6 mos $ 500

With Intent to Distribute

Any amount felony 16 mos – 3 years $ 0

*Detention center

Sale or Delivery

Any amount felony 2 – 4 years $ 0
Gift of 28.5 grams or less misdemeanor N/A $ 100
Over 18 years to an individual 14-17 years felony 3 – 7 years $ 0

Cultivation

Any amount felony 16 mos – 3 years $ 0

Hash & Concentrates

Possession N/A 1 year $ 500
Unauthorized manufacture N/A 16 mos – 3 years $ 500
Chemical manufacture N/A 3 – 7 years $ 50,000

Paraphernalia

Sale, delivery, possession with intent, and manufacture with intent misdemeanor 15 days – 6 mos $ 500
Involving a minor at least 3 years junior misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations.

Miscellaneous

Using a minor in the unlawful sale or transport of marijuana is a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment. Inducing a minor to use marijuana is also a felony punishable by 3-7 years imprisonment.

Any violation of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act results in a fine up to $150.

A person who participates in the illegal marketing of marijuana is liable for civil damages.

It is a misdemeanor to loiter in a public place with the intent to commit certain controlled substances offenses.

A controlled substance conviction can result in suspension of driving privileges.

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