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 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Featured on CNN
ABC News
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
CBS News
The New York Times
Us Weekly
Entertainment Tonight
Good Morning America
Legal Broadcast Network
Avvo Rating 10.0
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.