A common misconception held by many in the United States is that California is some sort of haven for drug users, where laws governing recreational drug use are either lax or nonexistent. The notion of drug culture promulgated in film and music suggests that California is a sort of Mecca for anyone seeking refuge from the draconic prohibition of narcotics throughout the rest of the country. But while California does have a serious influx of drugs, especially through the Mexican border, its drug laws are among the most stringent in the nation. Even marijuana, which California is famous for cultivating, is illegal without a medical card, and you could find yourself facing serious charges if you are found in possession of the drug.
Unlike Washington state and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational use under state law, marijuana is prohibited for use in California except by those with a medical license. And even in that case, the Medical Marijuana Program Act passed by the California State Senate in 2003 stipulates that a medical patient may be in possession of a maximum of 8 ounces of dried cannabis, and a grower may grow a maximum of 12 plants at any given time. Violation of either of these limits could result in a serious charge of possession with intent to distribute.
In 2010, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that made possessing under an ounce of marijuana a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor. However, if you are caught with under an ounce, this does not mean you will necessarily escape with only a $100 fine. If you are in possession of a scale, multiple baggies, or other suspicious paraphernalia, you may be charged with intent to distribute, a much more serious offense.
If you are charged with any marijuana related offenses, it is important to know your legal rights. At the Law Office of Nicolai Cocis, we will work to ensure the minimization of your penalty or outright dismissal of the case. If you are charged with such offenses in the area of Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Helmet, or Riverside, CA, you should know the full extent of your rights and options, and any question you have will be answered by an experienced defense attorney, not a staff member of paralegal. For information, please contact us at (951) 842-2347.