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Possession of Concentrated Cannabis/Hashish Defense - HS 11357(a)

WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF CONCENTRATED MARIJUANA/CANNABIS?
Concentrated cannabis means the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana. Health & Safety Code, Section 11006.5

In 2011, California decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use by reducing the criminal charge from a misdemeanor to an infraction. However, penalties for possession of any amount of concentrated marijuana, such as hashish, are still serious.

Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses any concentrated cannabis shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment, or shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code. Health and Safety Code, Section 11357 (a)

Prosecutors have the option of filing a concentrated marijuana case as a misdemeanor or felony (also known less formally as a “wobbler”), depending on the circumstances and an individual’s criminal history. These are known as aggravating circumstances. Prosecutors come to this decision by considering the method used to create the hashish or other type of concentrated cannabis. Unauthorized processing of marijuana into concentrated form without the use of chemicals is punishable by up to three years imprisonment. If manufactured with the use of chemicals, it’s punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $50,000. In either case, a person being investigated for, or who is charged with, should seek legal representation to avoid a potentially worse outcome.

Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who manufactures, compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance specified in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, five, or seven years and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). Health and Safety Code, Section 11379.6(a)
PROSECUTION MUST PROVE*:
  • Unlawful possession.
  • Knowledge of possession.
  • Knowledge of nature or character of the substance.
  • The amount of the substance was useable.

Defenses to possession of hashish/concentrated cannabis may include lawful possession with a medical marijuana recommendation.

There are viable defenses to these allegations. For one, perhaps the hashish belonged to another person. Depending on how the concentrated marijuana was manufactured, the prosecution may have a lengthy testing process to arrive at the conclusion that it was made using chemicals. If so, the more tests that must occur can often result in laboratory error. Another problem with lengthy testing procedures is maintaining an accurate chain of custody record. Often, if the District Attorney is unable to show that the substance which allegedly tested positive as chemically manufactured was not properly transferred from the arresting officer to the lab, it cannot be used as evidence.

Contact Lauren K Johnson today if you are charged with possession of concentrated cannabis to protect your rights.

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