California Health and Safety Code Section 11359 HSC: Possession For Sale Of Marijuana

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimemarijuana sale

The laws regarding marijuana possession in California have relaxed in recent years, and now possessing marijuana is usually either an infraction or a misdemeanor. However, possessing marijuana with the intent to sell it is a serious criminal offense that can carry substantial penalties. Under California Health & Safety Code Section 11359 HSC, possession for sale of marijuana is a felony.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of possession for sale of marijuana, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant possessed a controlled substance
  2. The defendant knew of its presence
  3. The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance
  4. When the defendant possessed the controlled substance, he or she intended to sell it
  5. The controlled substances was marijuana
  6. AND the controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Whether or not the marijuana possessed was intended for sale or merely personal use can be the difference between an infraction/misdemeanor and a serious felony. Law enforcement and prosecutors will consider the following factors as indicators that the marijuana involved was intended for sale:

  1. Large amounts of marijuana discovered
  2. Whether or not the marijuana was packaged in small, individual packages for distribution
  3. Whether the suspect was arrested at a location common for marijuana sales
  4. Whether or not there was paraphernalia present that may indicate use rather than sale
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Possession of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC
  2. Possession for Sale of a Controlled SubstanceCalifornia Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
  3. Possession of Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11357 HSC
  4. Cultivating Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11358 HSC
  5. Selling Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11360 HSC
3. Examples

A man is the target of a police investigation regarding the alleged sales of marijuana. The man is an authorized user under the Compassionate Use Act, however through the use of informants the police discover that the man is involved in selling the marijuana he cultivates. The police perform controlled buys using undercover officers and get a search warrant to search the man’s home. Inside they find large amounts of marijuana divided into small packages, scales, ledgers and other indicia of marijuana sales. The man could be prosecuted for possession of marijuana for sale in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11359 HSC even though he is an authorized user.

In another example, a man is a heavy marijuana user who is authorized to grow and possess marijuana under the Compassionate Use Act. One day the police search his home and discover large amounts of marijuana. However, the man claims it is all for personal use and the officers cannot find evidence of sales. In this case, the man would probably not be guilty of possession for sale of marijuana.

4. Defenses to Possession for Sale of Marijuana

As noted above, there may be instances where a person possesses large amounts of marijuana for personal use or use as an authorized primary caregiver. In these instances, the defendant would have a strong defense if charged with possession for sale of marijuana.

In addition, if the police did not have sufficient probable cause to search the defendant’s house, car or other private area, a savvy defense attorney may be able to make a motion to suppress the evidence. If successful, the evidence would be inadmissible and the case would likely be dismissed.

5. Penalties

Possession for sale of marijuana is a felony level offense that is punishable by up to three years in prison for those convicted.

6. Criminal Defense for Possession for Sale of Marijuana Cases

Possession for sale of marijuana is a very serious offense when compared to other marijuana crimes that can result in prison sentences if convicted. If you or someone you know have been charged with possession for sale of marijuana, it is crucial that you speak with a skilled Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience. Mr. Kraut is highly respected by judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers as a tough, knowledgeable litigator who works hard to ensure the best possible outcome for his clients.

For more information about possession for sale of marijuana, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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