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Marijuana Defense

*The legal landscape of marijuana criminal defense is extremely volatile; laws are quickly changing. As such, the information contained in this page should not be taken as legal advice, to be legally accurate, and should not be used with the purpose of constructing a legal defense. If you are facing criminal prosecution for a crime related to marijuana, do not talk to anyone about your case until you have spoken to Criminal Defense Attorney Lauren K Johnson.

Marijuana is defined and classified as a Schedule 1 controlled hallucinogenic substance under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Although it is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, marijuana remains illegal for that particular type of use in California. Additionally, marijuana purchased in Colorado or Washington is not legal in neighboring states, or any other state, for that matter, other than the state in which it was purchased. Transporting marijuana purchased in Colorado or Washington to another state is a federal crime.

"Marijuana" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination. Health and Safety Code, Section 11018.

Possession of an ounce (28.5 grams) or less of marijuana is an infraction, similar to a traffic ticket.

Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100). Health and Safety Code, Section 11357(b)

In addition to the fine, various fees are often added, which can increase the cost of the infraction to more than $400.


An infraction is similar to a traffic citation and carries a fine. An individual can contest an infraction before a judge, but not before a jury. Many citations either are, or can be reduced to infractions.

An infraction is not punishable by imprisonment. A person charged with an infraction shall not be entitled to a trial by jury. A person charged with an infraction shall not be entitled to have the public defender or other counsel appointed at public expense to represent him or her unless he or she is arrested and not released on his or her written promise to appear, his or her own recognizance, or a deposit of bail. California Penal Code, Section 19.6

Conviction of an infraction for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use does not appear on an individual’s criminal record. However, the court retains the record for two years.

Contact the Johnson Criminal Law Group if you need legal representation to defend this charge.

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