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Yosemite National Park may be within California’s borders, but if you get busted for possession or growing pot in Yosemite or in any national park, you are within the borders of federal law and subject to penalties much harsher than those you’d face under California law.
Yosemite National Park is one of the country’s most visited parks and also one in which a lot of arrests are made for possession of marijuana. Yosemite and other national parks are also home to sophisticated pot-growing operations that are damaging the ecosystems of the parks
National parks are federal property, like government buildings, military bases, or any other facilities owned or controlled by the federal government. When you are on government property, you are subject to federal jurisdiction. Crimes that would otherwise be prosecuted by California county prosecutors applying California law will in fact be prosecuted by federal prosecutors applying federal law if the crime occurred on federal property.
Those penalties include:
Possession. you are charged with possession of marijuana at Yosemite or any other national park in California, a first offense can result in:
a fine of up to $5,000, and
up to six months in jail
21 U.S.C. § 844
Cultivation or sale. Cultivating, possessing with intent to sell, and/or selling less than 50 pounds of marijuana or 50 plants in a national park is punishable by:
up to five years in federal prison, and
a fine of up to $250,000 (or up to $500,000 for cultivation)
21 U.S.C. § 844(b)(5)
Fines and periods of incarceration increase for greater quantities of marijuana or conviction for subsequent offenses.
Being busted for pot in a national park is no picnic. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense under federal law, please give one of our experienced federal criminal defense lawyers a call.
About the Author
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, 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.