California Health and Safety Code Section 11361 HSC: Selling Marijuana To A Minor

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimemarijuana sale

While selling marijuana is a serious felony under California Health & Safety Code Section 11360 HSC, the offense is even more serious when the target of the sale is under the age of 18. Under California Health & Safety Code Section 11361 HSC, selling marijuana to a minor is a serious felony offense that can lead to extensive prison time for those convicted.

To prove a defendant violated California Health & Safety Code Section 11361 HSC by selling marijuana to a minor, the prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements of the crime:

  1. The defendant unlawfully sold, furnished, administered or gave away marijuana, a controlled substance, to someone else
  2. The defendant knew of the presence of the controlled substance
  3. The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance
  4. At the time, the defendant was 18 years of age or older
  5. At the time, the recipient was under 18 years of age
  6. AND the marijuana was in a usable amount.

A defendant can be convicted under the statute for merely offering to sell marijuana to a minor. In these situations, the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. The defendant unlawfully offered to sell, furnish, administer or give away marijuana, a controlled substance, to another person
  2. When the defendant made the offer, he or she intended to sell, furnish, administer or give away the controlled substance
  3. At the time, the defendant was 18 years of age or older
  4. At the time, the recipient was under 18 years of age

The specific intent for this offense is the crime of selling marijuana, and not the intent to sell it to a minor. As a result, ignorance of the age of the other party would not be a defense to selling marijuana to a minor. There is no defense of good faith where the defendant believed the other party was over 18.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
  2. Possession for Sale of a Controlled SubstanceCalifornia Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
  3. Possession for Sale of MarijuanaCalifornia Health & Safety Code Section 11359 HSC
  4. Selling Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11360 HSC
  5. Selling a Controlled Substance to a Minor – California Health & Safety Code Section 11253 HSC
3. Examples

A man grows a very popular strain of marijuana that is in high demand. One day, some young men from the local high school ask to buy marijuana from the man. The man refuses, however the boys pester him and he eventually agrees. The young men are all under 18. The man could be prosecuted for selling marijuana to a minor in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11361 HSC.

In another example, a man sells marijuana but refuses to sell to minors. One day a woman approaches the man to buy marijuana. The woman looks over 18 and the man agrees to sell her a small amount. In reality, the woman was 17. The man could be charged with selling marijuana to a minor as having a good faith belief that the other person is over 18 is not a defense under the law.

4. Defenses to Selling Marijuana to a Minor

There may be cases in which a person is caught selling marijuana to a minor as part of an undercover sting operation. If the operative was too aggressive in trying to get the defendant to sell marijuana and violate the law, the defendant may be able to raise an entrapment defense.

5. Penalties

Selling marijuana to a minor is a serious felony offense that can carry lengthy prison sentences for those convicted. If the defendant is accused of selling marijuana to a minor between 14 and 18 years old, he or she can be sentenced to up to five years in prison. If the defendant sold marijuana to someone under 14, the maximum prison sentence increases to seven years.

6. Criminal Defense for Selling Marijuana to Minors Cases

If you have been charged with selling marijuana to a minor, it is very important that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively fight charges like this.

For more information about selling marijuana to minors, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney 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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