California Marijuana Law Differs for Users versus Sellers

Posted by Neil Shouse | May 14, 2008 | 0 Comments

Marijuana law in California could be described as unusually lenient when it comes to casual users, and rather draconian as to sellers and distributors.

A casual user caught with under an ounce is charged with Health & Safety Code 11357 : Marijuana Possession. The maximum sentence for the offense is a $100 fine, plus county penalty assessments. But the person convicted could not be put in jail. Compare this with cocaine possession, which can land a person in the joint for 3 years.

The situation changes if the person is charged with Marijuana Possession for Sale under Health & Safety Code 11359 . If convicted, he faces probation, fines and up to 3 years in state prison. If the person is caught for sale of marijuana under Health & Safety Code 11360 , the prison term can be up to four years.

Finally, for cultivation of marijuana one can be convicted of Health & Safety Code 11358 . This offense carries up to 3 years is state prison. But California marijuana law makes an exception for someone who grows just a few plants for medical purposes.

The aim of the law is obviously to punish growers and sellers severely, but give casual users and possessors just a slap on the wrist. But if the substance is benign enough that it doesn't warrant going after simple users, why do we invest enormous resources going after the suppliers? (Refer to our articles, "Is hashish illegal in California?" and "Five things to know about California marijuana possession.")

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370