Marijuana Legalization Having Ripple Effect for Californians Facing Drug Possession Charges

December 19, 2016

The 2016 election resulted in much more than a new president. Residents of California voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized possession of marijuana and the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Furthermore, California will actually have a legal cannabis retail market in 2018, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.marijuana


What the New Law Allows


The passage of Prop 64 does not mean anyone and everyone can stop by their local CVS and purchase cannabis. Prop 64 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and imposes a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales. The new law also establishes a regulatory framework for the commercial sale of marijuana within the state.


Helping Defendants Facing Serious Criminal Charges


Prop 64’s impact in the state appears to have gone far beyond simply legalizing marijuana. It has actually altered the futures of Californians facing criminal charges for marijuana possession. For example, before Prop 64 became law, a person could face a felony criminal charge for growing even just one cannabis plant. Now, no such felony offense exists under California law (though, there are exceptions for repeat sellers and individuals who sold marijuana to minors).


Hundreds of pending felony cases involving marijuana possession are now being reduced and sent to misdemeanor courts. There are reports of some cases simply being dismissed outright, according to the aforementioned San Francisco Chronicle article.  Prop 64 is likely to impact thousands of people since, according to the attorney general’s office, nearly 9,000 felony marijuana arrests were made in 2015 involving close to8,000 adults and nearly 900 juveniles.


Even more incredible is the fact that Prop 64 was worded in a manner to make the law retroactive. This means past offenders convicted of marijuana possession can now apply for sentence reductions. Individuals currently incarcerated, on probation, or on parole can petition to have their sentences reduced because of Prop 64.


How Prop 64 Can Benefit You


If you or a loved one was charged with possessing or distributing marijuana before the passage of Prop 64, there is the possibility of having your charges dropped or reduced significantly.

A perfect example was highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle article. An entrepreneur with a thriving cannabis business comprised of cannabis farms and medical dispensary was arrested in June 2016 for allegedly growing cannabis in his Northern California home. He was charged with five felonies which could have resulted in a multi-year prison sentence and thousands of dollars in penalties, if convicted.


However, this individual’s criminal case was scheduled on the court’s docket for November 9, 2016, just one day after the election and passage of Prop 64. His five felony charges were immediately dropped to a single misdemeanor charge. This resulted in the individual being able to avoid any jail time.


Am I Guaranteed to Have My Criminal Charges Dropped?


No. Every case is different and the outcome will be determined primarily on the unique facts of each case. As mentioned, there are exceptions to Prop 64. For example, smoking or ingesting marijuana in public is still considered a crime. To get a full understanding of your legal rights, speak to an experienced Los Angeles marijuana possession attorney.


Why Hire a Los Angeles Marijuana Possession Defense Lawyer


As you can see, even with the passage of Prop 64, marijuana use can still get you into legal trouble. If you are charged with violating the law, you need to retain a skilled and experienced Los Angeles defense lawyer to advocate for your rights. The Law Office of Peter Berlin is dedicated to providing excellent representation for all clients, including those charged with allegedly violating California’s marijuana laws. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. (310) 289-5418