Marijuana possession in California has become a complicated situation no thanks to the
Health & Safety Code 11359 law that applies to an intent to sell marijuana. While possessing less
than 28.5 grams of
concentrated marijuana in California
is still a misdemeanor, the criminal charges for possession of non-concentrated marijuana have
been reduced considerably from the way it used to be. In fact, if convicted
of such an offense today, the punishment is only a fine. What happens,
though, when the police assume you're going to sell pot? Will California
ever make HS 11359 more specific so there aren't quick assumptions
during investigations for marijuana possession? Possession with intent
to sell marijuana is still a felony that carries up to 3 years in jail.
The Potential for Misunderstandings
Without looking at the entire situation, it's easy to see why police
would misunderstand when someone possessing marijuana organizes it in
ways that insinuates intent to sell. Were the 3 baggies of marijuana possessed
with intent to sell or were they bought on 3 separate occasions for personal
use? Was the small scale found inside your home used to measure the marijuana
you intended to sell or is it used to weigh the marijuana that you buy
on a regular basis?
Such immediate assumptions by police may have mixed opinion from the public
on whether they're rightfully cautious or misguided attempts. Here
at the Law Office of Nic Cocis & Associates, we often see cases of
these mistaken judgments and wonder how marijuana laws can be rewritten
without so much ambiguity. Is there a way to make HS 11359 clearer so
there isn't such a gung-ho rush for prosecutors to assume that everyone
possessing marijuana intends to sell it?
The Continuing Stigma on Marijuana
Despite other states starting to decriminalize marijuana possession laws,
there's still too much of a perception that marijuana is a hardcore
drug. California prosecutors may be getting even with the decriminalized
law by working around it and using assumptions that are sometimes hard
to prove to the contrary. There isn't a doubt, though, that HS 11359
needs to be rewritten with clearer language requiring more concrete evidence
before prosecuting on intent of sale.
In the meantime, those who intend to possess marijuana in California will
have to be careful in avoiding the impression that a sale is imminent.
This means avoiding placing marijuana in baggies or taking the marijuana
to a party where other people are around and avoiding any money transactions
for any reason while in possession of marijuana should always be top priority.
Regardless, if you've been falsely arrested for the intention of selling
contact us immediately for a free initial consultation. The
Law Office of Nic Cocis and Associates is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, and represents
individuals arrested in the neighboring cities of Temecula, Wildomar,
Menifee, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside, California.