How California’s Marijuana Legalization Laws Have Affected Marijuana Criminal Charges

Marijuana Criminal Charges

California’s marijuana legalization laws have impacted the severity and frequency of marijuana-related criminal charges in the state. A Los Angeles criminal lawyer can offer you legal representation if you are facing marijuana-related charges. Here are some ways in which legalization has affected marijuana criminal charges in the state:

Possession of Marijuana

Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana is treated as an infraction under California law rather than a misdemeanor or felony. An infraction for possession of marijuana in this range carries a minimal fine. Minors found possessing marijuana can face consequences such as community service, drug education programs, or probation.

The law has specific regulations regarding the transportation of marijuana in a vehicle. Marijuana must be stored in a sealed container in the vehicle’s trunk or a locked glove compartment. An open container of marijuana in a moving vehicle is illegal and can lead to fines or other penalties.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana remains illegal in California. Law enforcement agencies continue to enforce DUI laws, conducting tests to identify impaired drivers. Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana can include fines, license suspension, and criminal charges.

These penalties can increase for repeat offenders or in cases involving injury or fatalities. If charged with DUI for marijuana use, hire a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to argue your case in court. The attorney can challenge the validity of the traffic stop, the accuracy of impairment tests, or the legality of the search.

Regulation of the Cannabis Industry

California established a detailed regulatory framework for the legal cannabis industry. Individuals and businesses in the legal cannabis industry must adhere to specific regulations, such as licensing requirements, taxation, and quality control standards. Failure to comply with tax requirements can result in severe financial and legal consequences, including civil and criminal penalties.

Marijuana products must undergo testing for potency, purity, and contaminants, and the results must be reflected on product labels. Businesses that produce or sell cannabis products that do not meet these standards can face penalties, including fines and possible criminal charges. Violations of environmental rules can result in fines and legal actions, including charges related to environmental damage.

Export Restrictions

California’s legalization laws do not permit the export of marijuana products to other states where it remains illegal. Transporting marijuana across state lines can result in federal criminal charges and penalties. These penalties can include fines, asset forfeiture, and potential imprisonment.

The illegal export of marijuana products from California to states where the substance is still prohibited can contribute to the persistence of black market activity. Law enforcement agencies at the state and federal levels collaborate to prevent the illegal transportation of marijuana across state lines. This includes efforts to intercept shipments and investigate illegal activities related to interstate marijuana trafficking.

Reclassification of Prior Convictions

Marijuana legalization laws allow for reclassification of prior convictions at the state level. Federal marijuana convictions remain on federal records and cannot be reclassified through state processes. During the expungement process, individuals may need to prove that their convictions would not have occurred or would have resulted in lesser penalties under current law. This involves demonstrating that the activity they were convicted of is now legal or subject to lighter penalties.

Criminal defense attorneys can help individuals pursue the reclassification of prior convictions successfully. Attorneys can help gather evidence, file the necessary paperwork, and represent their clients in court hearings if required. Individuals with felony convictions for marijuana-related offenses may be eligible to have their felonies reduced to misdemeanors.

Federal Ramifications

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and federal law enforcement agencies can enforce federal marijuana laws. Businesses in the legal cannabis industry may face risks such as raids, asset forfeiture, and criminal charges, even if they fully comply with state laws. Producing, distributing, or possessing marijuana can still result in federal drug possession or trafficking charges.

Hire a Reputable Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer

A criminal lawyer can evaluate your case to understand your marijuana-related offenses and determine how to defend you best. In the event of a conviction, your attorney can advocate for a fair sentence, reducing the severity of penalties. They can also explore alternative sentencing options, such as drug diversion programs or probation, to help you avoid imprisonment. Contact a reputable Los Angeles criminal lawyer today to learn more about how marijuana criminal charges have changed in California.