Cannabis: What Is and Isn't Legal in Orange County CACannabis, also known as marijuana, has been decriminalized in California for several years now. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t be arrested and charged with a cannabis crime in California. Knowing what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to marijuana possession in Orange County, CA can help you avoid trouble with the law.

In California, you can legally possess cannabis if you’re 21 or older (18 or older with a physician’s recommendation). Different rules apply to medical users and adult users. Medical users are legally able to possess, purchase and grow more marijuana than adult users. Cannabis can only be purchased from a licensed dealer.

Places Where You Can Legally Smoke Marijuana

You can smoke cannabis on private property, but not in public places where it’s illegal to smoke tobacco, or within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, or youth center while children are present. If you rent, know that landlords and other property owners can ban the use of marijuana on their properties. Most hotels do not allow guests to use cannabis in their rooms.

What Can Get You In Trouble

There are no penalties for being in possession of less than an ounce of cannabis. However, if you are 18 or under or you were found in possession of marijuana on school grounds, you could be facing misdemeanor cannabis charges. A conviction could get you 10 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. Possession of more than one ounce of cannabis is also a misdemeanor, but you could be facing up to six months in county jail, as well as up to $500 if you’re convicted.

In most cases, selling marijuana without a license is a misdemeanor offense that could land you in a county jail for up to six months and/or cost you up to $500. However, if you’re over the age of 18 and are arrested for selling cannabis to minors, you could find yourself facing felony charges and 3-7 years in state prison.

Marijuana DUI in Orange County CA

Driving or riding in a vehicle with an open container of cannabis is illegal. If you have marijuana in your vehicle, it has to be in a sealed package or container or stored in the trunk. Law enforcement officers can pull you over to conduct a sobriety test if they suspect you are operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Any amount of THC in your system is enough to get you charged with DUI. You can receive a DUI even if you have a prescription.

A first conviction for marijuana DUI could cost you up to 6 months and/or fines of up to $1000; you’ll also have your driver’s license suspended for 6 months and be ordered to complete a DUI program. Subsequent convictions come with harsher penalties.

Defenses Against Charges of Cannabis Crimes

While simple possession of marijuana is not a crime in California, possessing more than an ounce, selling cannabis without a license, selling cannabis to minors, and driving under the influence of marijuana are. If convicted you could be facing jail time, fines, and more.

If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime in Orange County, it’s important to hire an experienced drug crimes defense attorney to protect your rights. Depending on the circumstances in your situation, possible defense strategies may include:

  • Unlawful search and seizure. The evidence against you was obtained through an unlawful search or seizure.
  • The marijuana did not belong to you. The marijuana only appears to be connected to you but doesn’t actually belong to you.
  • The crime analysis was incomplete. The crime lab has never confirmed that the substance found in your possession is actually marijuana.
  • The evidence is missing or lost. The police/crime lab is unable to find the evidence.
  • The marijuana was planted on you. Law enforcement or another party deliberately planted the drugs on you.

Speak to an Orange County CA Drug Crime Defense Attorney

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the prosecution will use to try and get a conviction as well as the best defense strategies to get the charges against you reduced or dropped.

The sooner you hire an attorney to represent you, the better. Contact the law offices of Jim Tanizaki today to schedule a free initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA drug crimes lawyer. You can reach us through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633.