California was one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, and the legal cannabis industry has become an important part of our state’s economy ever since. However, people are still being arrested and charged with crimes related to cannabis.
There are a number of reasons for this. One is that cannabis is heavily regulated under state law. People who run afoul of regulations can find themselves facing criminal charges.
In years past, advocates argued that cannabis legalization would reduce crime, because it would allow the industry to operate in the open, without fear of police interference. But, in a somewhat ironic development, the partial legalization of cannabis has arguably created a financial incentive to do business illegally.
Because black market cannabis growers and distributors ignore the burdens of regulations and avoid paying the required fees and taxes, they can make a lot more money going the illegal route. As a result, a black market for cannabis products continues to exist in California.
The partial legalization of cannabis can also lead to confusion among consumers, who don’t always understand the limits that remain on the substance. Thankfully, Californians no longer need fear being charged with possession if they are found with small amounts of cannabis, but they may not be aware that they can still face possession charges if they are found with larger amounts.
A person found with more than 28.5 grams of marijuana can be charged with possession, and can face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. A person charged with possession of more than 8 ounces of concentrated cannabis can face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500.
While the legal outlook for cannabis in California is much different today than it was just a few years ago, those facing criminal charges related to cannabis are in just as much trouble as ever. It’s important for those facing drug charges to seek out help from an experienced defense attorney who can advise them of their legal options and protect their rights.