Marijuana and Proposition 64

Marijuana Possession

The legalization of marijuana in California has been a hot topic since 1996 when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, making it legal to possess marijuana in small amounts for those over 21 and for licensed businesses to sell it. However, as with anything, there are restrictions.

Proposition 64 states individuals over 21 can have about one ounce (28.4 grams) of marijuana or up to 4 grams of cannabis that’s concentrated. So, if you’re over 21 and have more than one ounce, you could be facing a misdemeanor with up to $500 in penalties and up to six months in jail. Suppose you’re under 21 and you’re found possessing an illegal amount of marijuana or concentrated cannabis. In that case, you may be charged with an infraction, have to pay a fine or perform community service, and may have to complete a course in drug education.


Remember, only state-licensed businesses can transport, import, or sell marijuana. In the past, California Health and Safety Code Section 11360 stated that possessing marijuana for sale or transport was a felony crime that was punishable by up to three years in prison. Proposition 64 has amended that down to a misdemeanor for most defendants. The penalties are up to six months in jail and/or as much as a $500 fine.
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That doesn’t mean all cases tried for marijuana possession for illegal sale/transport are charged as misdemeanors. If one of the following elements is true for you, your case will be charged as a felony. If you’ve had a history of violent felonies, two or more priors for the sale/transport of marijuana, you sold to someone under 18, OR you attempted to import/export more than 28.5 grams of marijuana more than four grams of concentrated cannabis. This felony violation will get you two to four years in jail and a steep fine of up to $10,000.

If you’ve already been sentenced and convicted for a marijuana possession crime prior to Proposition 64, the good news is you can be resentenced. If that’s the case for you or someone you know, consult with a marijuana crimes defense attorney who’s an expert in Proposition 64. This is a relatively new law, and the judicial system is still trying to figure out how to apply it.

If you’ve been charged with any of the other above marijuana possession crimes, reach out to DRE Law, who will have your back and will do what it takes to make sure you get the best outcome.

Darren Richie