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Overview of California's Marijuana Laws

California Criminal & Medical Marijuana Laws

The laws in California regarding marijuana are as follows:


It is illegal to possess any amount of marijuana. Possessing marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that can result in up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.


It is illegal in California for any person to “plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process” any marijuana or any part of a marijuana plant. Cultivating marijuana is a felony offense that is punishable by 16-36 months in prison.


Possessing marijuana with intent to sell is a felony offense in California, and can result in 2-7 years in prison. Even if a police officer or law enforcement official didn’t actually witness a sale transaction, they can still charge an individual with intent to sell if they see the following items:

  • Large amounts of cash
  • Large quantities of marijuana
  • Scales and packaging supplies
  • Pipes, papers, or bongs

Transportation & Distribution

In California, any person who transports or distributes marijuana will be charged with a felony, and if convicted, sentenced to up to four years in prison. If the amount of marijuana is less than 28.5 grams, the person may be charged with a misdemeanor, which is only punishable by a fine of $100.

Marijuana Paraphernalia

It is illegal to sell or manufacture marijuana paraphernalia, but not to possess it. However, if the police find paraphernalia, they have the right to seize it. Charges stemming from marijuana paraphernalia can result in a civil fine of $200-$300 for a first offense, and up to $5,000-$6,000 for a fifth or subsequent violation (within five years).

Medical Marijuana

Under California Law (it is a still a crime under federal law) people suffering from serious medical illnesses, diseases, and conditions (or their primary caretakers) can purchase, possess, or cultivate marijuana for personal use with the approval a doctor or physician.

Marijuana in a Vehicle

Drivers found with 28.5 grams of marijuana or less in their vehicle may face misdemeanor charges and a $100 fine. Larger amounts of marijuana will result in higher fines, driver’s license suspension, and possibly time in jail or prison.

Contact Los Angeles Marijuana Defense Attorney David D. Diamond to learn how he can protect your rights and defend you against your marijuana drug charges!
Free case evaluations are available.

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