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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.

California’s Laws on the Sale of Marijuana

While voters passed Proposition 64 back in 2016 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana within the state, there are still instances where a person can get into trouble with the drug. For more information about laws surrounding the selling of marijuana, keep reading.

Who Can Sell Marijuana?

When it comes to the sale of marijuana within the state of California, only licensed individuals are permitted to make sales. In order for a business to get a license to sell marijuana within the state, they have to apply for one through the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC).

The BCC is responsible for overseeing all commercial sales of marijuana within the state. Anyone looking to get a license to sell any form of marijuana or cannabis within California needs to get a license from this agency. If a person fails to do that, then they will face legal consequences for selling marijuana without a license. Not only is selling marijuana illegal, but just possessing with the intent of selling it can get a person into trouble.

Possessing marijuana with the intent to sell is typically a misdemeanor offense. It earns a person up to 6 months in jail and a max fine of $500. However, this crime can become a felony level offense if:

  • A person has a prior conviction of a violent felony.
  • A person has 2 or more prior misdemeanor convictions of intent to sell marijuana.
  • A person possessed marijuana in the attempt to sell it to a minor, someone under 18.

If one of these instances occurs, than the person can face anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in jail.

The unlicensed sale of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense in most cases. It comes with a jail stay of no more than 6 months and a max fine of $1,000. As with the intent to sell marijuana, if a person meets any of the above exceptions, then they could face felony charges. Felony charges of sale without a license can earn a person anywhere from 2 to 4 years in jail.

A person is allowed to transport and give away marijuana, provided the total amount is less than or equal to the legal limit of 28.5 grams of marijuana and the person they are giving the marijuana to is 21 or older.

Minors and Marijuana

While the recreational use of marijuana may be legal in California, a person has to be over the age of 21 to take advantage of that law. Anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from doing anything with marijuana, this includes:

  • Administer
  • Carry
  • Give away
  • Prepare for sale
  • Sell
  • Transport
  • Use

If a person is caught allowing a minor to do any of these things, they can face harsh prison sentences. If the minor was under the age of 14, then the person can face anywhere from 3 to 7 years in state prison. If the minor was between the ages of 14 and 18, then the person faces anywhere from 3 to 5 years in state prison.

California’s Take on the Sale of Marijuana

It may be legal for a person to use marijuana in a recreational sense here in California, but that does not mean that a person can do whatever they want with the drug. There are still rules to follow. For instance, only licensed businesses are allowed to sell marijuana in any quantity.

Another big law is that a person has to be 21 or older to be able to use or do anything with marijuana. Anyone younger than 21 is considered a minor when it comes to marijuana, and can get into serious legal trouble for dealing with the drug.

What do you think about California’s take on the sale of marijuana and how it punishes people who break those laws? Is it too much, or just enough? How about when minors are involved? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Would You Get Behind the Wheel of a Vehicle While High? Well, California Teens Are

Would You Get Behind the Wheel of a Vehicle While High Well, California Teens Are

Just about every driver out there knows about DUI’s and how they should never drive while intoxicated with alcohol. However, what many people fail to realize, is that there was a reason the term was switched from DWI, driving while intoxicated, to DUI, Driving under the influence. DUI is a broader term that covers driving under the influence of any substance whether it is alcohol or drugs.

Driving under the influence of any substance is illegal in the state of California. This includes driving while high on marijuana, or laughing gas. There is an alarming trend among teens to get high off of laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. The gas is used both for car racing and for medical use. It is one of the ways that doctors can put patients under for surgeries.

When inhaled, laughing gas can cause a high like sensation, which is why some teens use it. This use is illegal in its own right, but becomes even more illegal when the teen then decides to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. While high, a person’s motor skills are greatly impaired, as are their decision making skills. What’s worse, is that if the person inhales too much laughing gas while driving, they will pass out behind the wheel. After all, this stuff is used to put people under for surgeries.

This is a problem that has been steadily growing and has claimed the lives of many kids. Mayor of Rialto, California, and parent of a teen victim, Ed Scott is pushing to make a difference. He is using his city’s police department to crackdown on shops that illegally sell nitrous oxide to minors. All of this is in an attempt to keep children safe and prevent other parents from having to lose their own child.

As a parent, it is important to sit down and talk with your kids about some of the things they do. Make sure they understand that there are some things that they should never do, such as getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of any substance. Doing so could put them in very serious danger.

What to Know About Marijuana DUI’s in California

What to Know About Marijuana DUI in California

DUI Marijuana in California | What Happens If I’m Charged with a Marijuana DUI?

The often tragic consequences and harsh legal penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are well publicized. What many people don’t realize is that it is also illegal and punishable in all 50 states to drive under the influence of marijuana (or a combination of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs).

Laws defining what it means to be “under the influence” of marijuana vary by state, as do applicable punishments.

  • Any amount = under the influence. In some states, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system will conclusively establish that the driver was under the influence.
  • Above the threshold = under the influence. In other states a driver who is above a certain blood or urine concentration level will be considered under the influence.
  • The defendant’s behavior or actions= under the influence. A minority of states require the prosecutor to prove that the driver was under the influence, by pointing to his behavior or driving, regardless of the amount of marijuana in the driver’s system.

States also differ in their definitions of “driving.” For example, in many states, a DUI charge can result from merely sitting in a stationary car while under the influence. Whether this definition of “driving” applies to you depends on the law of the state where you live, and is discussed further below.

What it Means to be “Under the Influence”

In most states, being “under the influence” means that the driver is incapable of driving safely due to the effects of drug or alcohol use.

As you are probably aware, when it comes to alcohol, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of the driver’s blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence (if the level is less, the prosecutor can still point to the driver’s actions to prove that he was under the influence). In some states, the blood alcohol level threshold is even lower if the driver is a minor.

When marijuana is involved, however, states have different approaches to establishing that the driver was under the influence, as shown below.

Per se laws

In states with so-called “per se” DUI laws, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system at the time of the offense will conclusively establish impairment. In these states, a prosecutor will not need to present any further evidence (such as behavior consistent with being under the influence or unsafe driving) in order to establish that the driver was under the influence.

State per se laws often include marijuana metabolites—compounds left over when the body metabolizes (or processes) marijuana—which can remain in a person’s body for days, weeks, or longer after marijuana use. While metabolites indicate that the person ingested marijuana at some point in the past, they do not indicate how long ago, or necessarily point to current impairment. Even so, state per se laws that include metabolites accept their presence as conclusive evidence of impairment for the purposes of a DUI charge.

Blood or urine marijuana concentration levels

As they do with blood alcohol thresholds, some states consider a level of marijuana (or marijuana metabolites) in the driver’s blood or urine—usually in nanograms/ liter—as conclusive proof of impairment. As with per se laws, the prosecutor will not need to prove that the driver’s senses were impaired—no need for field sobriety test results, or testimony about the driver’s speech, balance, or poor driving.

In these states, having a concentration level that’s lower than the threshold does not necessarily mean that the driver was not under the influence, however. The prosecutor may still point to the driver’s actions and behavior (such as his driving) to show that the driver was under the influence.

The driver’s behavior or driving

In the minority of states, the prosecutor must always establish that the driver was behaving in a way that showed that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the arrest—regardless of (even relatively high) marijuana blood or urine concentration levels. Prosecutors can do this by showing that the driver had impaired balance or speech, or that he was driving erratically—even that he smelled of marijuana.

People are sometimes surprised to learn that the prosecution need not show actual unsafe driving to prove that the driver was under the influence. Merely being under the influence and driving will suffice. For example, suppose you are involved in an accident that you did not cause—your driving was just fine. But the police officer who comes to the accident scene smells marijuana in your car, observes your reddened eyes and tell-tale behavior, and sees half-smoked joints in the ash tray. This may be enough evidence to charge you with driving while under the influence, even though your driving was not unsafe.

Driving as a Medical Marijuana Patient

Eighteen states have made it legal to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, as long as the patient follows the law with respect to amounts, registration, and so on. But no state has gone so far as to say it’s okay to drive after using medical marijuana, even when the patient has scrupulously followed the rules. This can be especially problematic for medical marijuana patients in states that employ per se laws, because as explained, metabolites may remain in the body for some time after use, arguably with no effect on the person’s driving.

Medical marijuana patients should know how their state approaches the issue of being “under the influence,” as explained above. For more information on this topic, see Medical Marijuana and Driving.

What Constitutes “Driving”?

What Constitutes “Driving”

Most state DUI statutes consider someone to be a driver within the meaning of the DUI law when he is “in actual physical control” of the vehicle at the time of arrest. This definition is broader than our common idea of “driving” or “operating” a vehicle. The policy goal behind this broad-reaching definition is to keep people from doing a wide range of vehicle-related activities while under the influence, thus increasing safety for other motorists, pedestrians, and property along roadways.

Because of this expansive definition, most state statutes do not limit DUI charges to people who are operating moving vehicles. Being “in actual physical control” of the vehicle can include being in control of a parked car, if the judge believes that the defendant intended to begin driving, or even that the defendant had already driven the vehicle before being found by the arresting officer.

If a DUI can include more than simply driving, what constitutes “actual physical control” of a vehicle? Judges tend to consider a combination of factors, including whether:

  • the vehicle was on or off
  • the vehicle was moving or stationary
  • the vehicle was operable
  • the keys were in or out of the ignition (and whether the defendant even had access to the keys)
  • the driver was awake or asleep (was the defendant perhaps “sleeping it off” in a parked vehicle?)
  • there was any gas in the tank
  • the vehicle’s gears were engaged, and
  • the defendant was in the driver’s seat.

Whether you were in “actual physical control” comes down to the judge’s consideration of the specific facts surrounding your case.

Marijuana DUI Penalties

The most common punishments for DUI offenses are a fine, jail (or prison) time, or both. Many states will also impose some length of license suspension or require the use of an ignition interlock device, so that the defendant’s vehicle will not start without a clean breathalyzer sample. Specific penalties for DUI convictions vary by state, though all states impose some combination of the following to punish DUI convictions:

  • fines
  • jail (or prison) time
  • community service
  • probation
  • victim impact program participation
  • home confinement (also known as house arrest)
  • ignition interlock device use
  • license suspension
  • vehicle impoundment or forfeiture, and
  • drug and alcohol abuse programs.

Within each state, the severity of the applicable penalties in each case usually depends on whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation, and aggravating factors may increase applicable penalties (see below).

Aggravating factors

The following circumstances will increase the penalties that would normally apply to a DUI conviction. These include (but are not limited to):

  • second and subsequent offenses
  • a minor in the vehicle at time of offense (sometimes referred to as “child endangerment”)
  • a minor as the defendant
  • DUI while driving on a suspended license
  • DUI while driving a school bus
  • causing a traffic accident, property damage, bodily injury, or death, and
  • driving with particularly elevated alcohol or drug content levels

Sentence ranges and mandatory minimum sentences

Although many state statutes list maximum fines, jail time, and license suspension periods, unless the law requires minimum fines, jail time, and suspension, the judge usually has discretion to sentence for periods up to the various maximums. This means that a defendant can theoretically end up with no, or very low, jail time and penalties.

Defendants who have prior DUI convictions probably can’t count on a mild sentence due to the absence of a mandatory minimum sentence in the statute, however. In all states, penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses, and in most states, that means mandatory minimum penalties for these subsequent violations. However, often there’s a “wash out” provision—a rule that effectively makes a prior DUI of a certain age go away for purposes of enhancing subsequent sentences. For example, a mandatory minimum may apply to a current conviction only if the prior conviction was incurred less than five, seven, or ten years ago. When a prior has washed out, the subsequent offense is treated as a first offense for punishment purposes.

source: by Monica Steiner – http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/

What to Expect with the New Marijuana Laws of California

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As you know, California passed Prop 64 last November, making marijuana usage legal in California. However,as you might expect, the prop is not that simple to follow. There are details and complexities written within the prop and forthcoming laws.There are regulations and concerns that must be addressed. Here is what you should know right now:

  • Anyone over the age of 21 can use, possess, and share up to one ounce of flowers or eight grams of concentrate of marijuana.
  • Anyone over the age of 21 can grow marijuana at home. What is tricky now is that a person cannot purchase a cannabis plant. Rather, they must receive it from another person who is already growing marijuana, and there must be no money transfer. In addition, no more than 6 plants may be grown at home at one time.
  • The state has until January 1, 2018 to get through all the rules and red tape so they can begin issuing licenses to marijuana businesses. Do not expect many stores to be ready to sell product until 2018 unless a customer has a medical card or license.
  • Similar to how smoking cigarettes and tobacco in public is illegal, smoking and/ or ingesting marijuana in public is illegal.
  • If a person plans on traveling outside of California, they cannot take marijuana with them and vice versa.No outside marijuana is allowed to be brought into California.
  • Being under the influence of marijuana and driving at the same time is illegal, no matter how much or how little was smoked.

The state and local and federal governments will continue to flush out the laws on marijuana use in California over the next year.There will be state-wide laws and then there will be more localized laws by county or city. It will be a slow transition until everything is ready to go.

If you are a marijuana user, the safe bet is to stay up-to-date on news and changes with the marijuana laws so you do not accidentally get into trouble.