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Transporting Marijuana in California

 Transporting Marijuana in California
Transporting Marijuana in California

Nearly four years ago, Californians voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. That law went into effect in 2018 and as such, there is still some confusion about what is and isn’t legal when it comes to marijuana in the state of California. People are still unsure about what can and cannot get them into trouble when it comes to the drug.

While the drug is legalized for recreational use, it is heavily regulated. If a person doesn’t follow the rules and laws, then they can find themselves in some serious trouble even though they thought they were doing something legal. A big thing that people need to worry about when dealing with marijuana is transporting it.

Transporting and DUI

A big issue with transporting marijuana is the potential for DUI. A person is guilty of DUI if they drive a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system. This does include driving while high on marijuana.

As such, legal marijuana is subject to the same types of laws as alcohol. This means a driver cannot have an open container of marijuana in their vehicle. Marijuana also needs to be transported in the storage compartment of the vehicle, just like alcohol. Basically, if a person couldn’t expect to do something with alcohol in a vehicle, then they can’t do it with marijuana either.

A person caught driving high will face standard DUI charges.

Marijuana Possession and Transport Laws

When it comes to transporting the drug or someone keeping it on their person, they need to be careful. A person is only allowed to have so much marijuana in their possession at a time. If they have more than that legal amount, then they could face simple possession charges.

As far as California law is concerned, a person over the age of 21 can only have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, or up to 4 grams of concentrated cannabis, on them at a time. A person having any more than that in their possession at one time is illegal here in California. Having possession of the substance doesn’t just include the person holding the item. It can also include:

  • Being in a person’s home.
  • Being in a person’s car.

The person doesn’t have to actively be holding something to have possession of it, they just need to have the marijuana in a place where they have control. Under this definition, a person can get into trouble with the law if they legally buy more than 28.5 grams of marijuana from a licensed dispensary.

The only time a person can carry or transport more than the personal legal limit is when they are intending to sell it. The only time a person can legally sell marijuana in the state of California is when they have a license to do so.

Penalties for Having Too Much Marijuana

When a person possesses more than the legal amount of marijuana, they can face possession charges under Health and Safety Code (HS) 11357. This law dictates how much marijuana a person can have in their possession at any given time and where they are allowed to have.

Breaking this law is typically a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

The charges are reduced to infractions if the person is under the age of 18.

Transporting marijuana with the intent to sell it without a license is illegal under HS 11360. The consequences for breaking this law are typically misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

The charges can be upped to felony charges if a person has certain prior convictions that include:

  • Certain serious violent felonies.
  • More than 2 prior convictions of HS 11360.
  • The defendant knowingly attempted to sell marijuana to a minor.
  • Defendants who transported more than the personal legal limit of marijuana into California.

Transporting Marijuana across State Lines

As far as federal law is concerned, marijuana is still a schedule 1 hallucinogenic drug, making it very illegal. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules and regulations presented by the California government, they could still get into trouble at the federal level.

Transporting even legal amounts of marijuana can become a problem when a person tries to cross state lines or get onto a plane. As far as airports are concerned, once a person goes through TSA security checkpoints, they are on federal grounds. Federal law takes precedent over state law, which means a person can get into trouble for having any amount of marijuana on them. People should leave their marijuana at home if they plan on flying anywhere.

When crossing state borders, it is important to remember that not all states have legalized marijuana. Many still have the same rules and restrictions as set forth by the federal government. This means that getting caught bringing drugs into another state could have very disastrous consequences depending on the state.

Don’t Get Into Trouble with Marijuana

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the recreational use of marijuana here in California. Part of this is due to the relative newness of the laws. Another part is due to the varying views on the drug across the country.

When looking at marijuana, a person is better off treating it the same way they would alcohol and cigarettes since it faces many of the same restrictions. It is also better to keep the marijuana here in California and not try to take it across state lines or into federally controlled areas, such as airports. As long as a person can do those things, they shouldn’t run into any trouble with the law.

What Are the Laws on Marijuana in California?

What Are the Laws on Marijuana in California?

It seems like just yesterday that the usage of marijuana was illegal here in California. However, Californians voted to make marijuana usage legal in the state back in 2016, and the recreational use of marijuana became legal January 1st, 2018. This change allowed a whole lot of people to use marijuana without having to worry about getting into trouble with the law or needing it for medical reasons.

While this legal change has been in effect for 2 years now, there is still the occasional bit of confusion for some people on what is and isn’t legal. For instance, some people don’t know how much marijuana they are allowed to grow, or how much they can have on their person at one time.

The State’s Marijuana Possession Law

California has several different laws that describe what is and isn’t legal in regards to marijuana. For instance, when it comes to possession of marijuana, Health and Safety Code (HS) 11357 states how much a person can carry on them. Under this law, people over the age of 21 are allowed to hold 28.5 grams or less of marijuana. That’s just a little more than an ounce. Under this law, a person is also allowed to carry up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

A person breaks this law when they:

  • Are under 21.
  • Possess more than 28.5 grams
  • Possess marijuana on the grounds of a K-12.

The penalties for breaking this law vary depending on how exactly it was broken. The charges for this crime can range from an infraction to a misdemeanor. They can have fines anywhere from $100 to $500, up to 6 months in jail, and require drug counseling.

Laws about Growing Marijuana

HS 11358 dictates who can grow marijuana and how much of it they can grow. Anyone over the age of 21 can grow up to 6 plants of marijuana. It typically has to be grown indoors, unless the city has a local ordinance that permits outdoor growth. Wherever marijuana is grown, it has to be in a secure location inaccessible to minors.

If a minor grows any marijuana, they are guilty of an infraction and will face:

  • $100 fine.
  • A drug counseling course.

If an adult grows more than 6 plants, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor and face:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

In some instances a person can face felony charges for goring more than 6 plants if they:

  • Have been convicted of serious violent felonies.
  • Are a registered sex offender.
  • Have 2 or more convictions of growing 6 or more plants.
  • Violated certain environmental laws while growing their plants.

Marijuana Selling Laws

HS 11359 outlines who is allowed to sell marijuana. Only people who have acquired a license to sell marijuana from the state are allowed to sell the drug. Anyone else who is caught selling marijuana without a license will usually face a misdemeanor that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

However, in some instances, a person can face felony charges if:

  • They have been convicted of certain serious violent felonies.
  • They have 2 or more previous convictions of marijuana possession with intent to sell.
  • They tried to sell marijuana to a minor under the age of 18.

As a felony, a person can face time in county jail ranging from 16 months to 3 years.

Marijuana and Driving Laws

Driving while in possession of marijuana is made illegal under Vehicle Code (VC) 23222. This is the same law that prohibits people from driving while possessing an open container of alcohol. Basically, this law makes it illegal for anyone to drive a vehicle while in possession of opened marijuana containers.

Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as illegal as driving under the influence of alcohol. This is why the crime is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), not driving while intoxicated (DWI). DUI is more inclusive of driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. If a person drives while high, they will face the same consequences they would if they were driving drunk.

These Laws Differ from Federal Laws

While marijuana usage is legal here in California, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means that even if a person is following the state laws for possessing and selling of marijuana, they could still be arrested and punished at the federal level. Despite that fact, for the most part, federal law enforcement isn’t that interested in the individual use of marijuana.

Still, there are instances where federal law enforcement will care about individual marijuana use. This will primarily occur when a person is on federal property such as:

  • Federal buildings.
  • Federal courthouses.
  • National parks.
  • Post offices.
  • Public airports.

If a person is caught possessing marijuana, they face the following under federal law:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 1 year in federal prison.

Growing, possessing with intent to sell, and sale of less than 50 pounds or 50 plants, is punishable with:

  • A max fine of $250,000.
  • Up to 5 years in federal prison.

Staying Out of Trouble Isn’t Too Hard

This is just a sample of some of the more common laws surrounding marijuana usage and cultivation here in California. Even though the laws went into effect 2 years ago, they are still new enough to cause some confusion.

As long as a person follows the above laws, they shouldn’t run into too much trouble with the law, at the state level anyways. When it comes to dealing with federal law, a person is better off leaving the marijuana at home. If they don’t do that, they could face some very harsh consequences.

What do you think of California’s many marijuana laws? Do they do a good job at keeping people safe, or are they too complicated? What about the federal laws regarding marijuana? Is it fair for people to get into trouble at the federal level even though they are following state laws? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.