California has long been one of the most forward-thinking states in regards to marijuana. California became the first state to legalize its use for patients who needed the drug to treat conditions like seizures and cancer in 1996.
Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, decriminalized its cultivation, use, and transportation, a reform that was later expanded through Senate Bill 420 in 2003. Since that time, more bills have set out to reform and reduce the criminal penalties associated with marijuana in California.
Under California law, significant strides are being made to reform the criminal penalties associated with marijuana violations every year. The criminal code was reformed to decriminalize having less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use through CA State Senate Bill 1449. Medical marijuana has been expanded, so that more people who need it can access it freely. Laws have also been adapted so that people using medical marijuana legally and their caretakers can transport the drug without fear of prosecution.
Prop 47 also reforms marijuana penalties. Most Californians have head of Prop 47 by now, which is a good thing for anyone accused of a drug violation. Under Prop 47, transportation and cultivation charges can be reduced to misdemeanors in most cases. Even people who could have previously been charged with felony possession (over an ounce) may be able to negotiate a reduced sentence.
California Marijuana Penalty Reform Not Yet Finished
Even though California has come a long way in reforming marijuana prosecutions, there is still a long way to go. Possession for sale can be a felony charge even if the person only had a small amount and did not actually intend to sell the marijuana.
Even simply transporting marijuana can be charged as trafficking. Because of this, reforms need to continue in our state. In fact, California may even join the growing minority of states where recreational marijuana use among adults is totally legal. We most likely will see such a measure on the ballot at the next election.
In the meantime, people need to be aware that certain marijuana crimes are still serious offenses, despite the many reforms to marijuana criminal penalties over the last 20 years. If you are arrested for any marijuana violation, it’s still important to consult an experienced California marijuana lawyer to find out what criminal penalties you may realistically be facing.
If you have been arrested on marijuana charges ranging from possession to distribution or sale in San Diego, you still need to take the charges seriously. Call the California marijuana lawyers at McElfresh Law at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation today. We will fight to reduce the penalties you face and get the best outcome possible.