Though marijuana is a very mild substance and widely used, it still carries social taboos with its anime. In the US, drug policies and regulations are constantly changing and evolving to better counter the effects of hard drugs. Simple marijuana possession is a very brittle offense but can bring about disproportionate consequences.
Simple marijuana possession refers to carrying a small amount of cannabis to your person. How much this “small amount” is could vary depending on which part of the US you live in. but it typically ranges from a few grams to an ounce. This means that simple marijuana possession is marijuana intended for personal use.
The laws concerning marijuana possession may vary. In the US, states have their own laws and regulations regarding marijuana possession. Though in some states, marijuana is legalized for medicinal and recreational use, others remain strict about its possession and distribution.
The ramifications of marijuana possession include fines, probation, and even imprisonment. If it’s your first offense, you will be fined an amount from $100 to $250. On your second offense, you will have to pay a similar fine and spend time in prison. As you can tell, the punishment is increased considerably after each subsequent offense. You may also have to take part in drug rehabilitation programs.
From a layman’s standpoint, this may not seem much. But carrying a criminal offense with your name can effectively change the way you have to leave. There are numerous social impacts. You might find it hard to get employment or be shunned by a certain demographic of people. This may also hinder any opportunities concerning education or housing. This disparity can especially be seen in marginalized demographics in the US.
People’s outlook on marijuana has changed over the years, and you can see the effects of that in the ever-changing landscape of politics. What was once known for being a gateway drug now proved to have many medicinal qualities that can help treat numerous ailments. Because of this, cannabis is being decriminalized in many states and even becoming legalized for recreational use.
Even after writing such intricate laws about marijuana possession, they aren’t equally implemented in all regions of the states. Some face the consequences, while others don’t. The laws themselves hold a very important responsibility, as the consumption and production of cannabis should indeed be regulated.
Factors that May Affect Simple Marijuana Possession Charges
There are several constituents that might influence the charges of simple marijuana possession. Here are some of the common ones:
- Quantity of Substance: carrying a certain amount of cannabis or marijuana is enough to get you into trouble. State laws mention what amount can be charged as criminal. The charges you receive may vary, considering how much marijuana was found in your person. The charges increase proportionally with the quantity of marijuana.
- Local Jurisdictions: Laws vary from state to state. Though there are variations, they still serve the general populace. Local jurisdiction dictates how strictly or lightly they will serve you your charge for simple possession.
- Criminal History: Having a criminal history will obviously work against you. If you have any prior offenses, adding a simple possession charge can land you in prison. You will undoubtedly face much more difficult penalties.
- Intent of Possession: Whether you wanted to use the marijuana for personal use or for distribution will significantly affect your charges.
- Age: Minors, of course, will not face harsh charges like adults. In most cases, they will have to attend a detention center.
- Public Opinion: Political trends and public opinions can influence simple possession charges. As the public is becoming more lenient towards the consumption of marijuana, the authorities have also become more considerate. These subtle political shifts can affect the severity of the charge.
- Prevalence of Substance Abuse Program: If rehabilitation programs are prevalent in your locals, then it is likely that your charges will be pardoned, and instead, you have to take part in these programs.
- Legal Representation: Having a good legal representation will undoubtedly influence your outcome for the better.
These are only a few of the long list of factors that influence simple marijuana charges. Social and political nuances differ from place to place. So, this is just a generalized overview.
Defenses Against Simple Possession Charges
To defend against simple possession charges, you must play into the circumstances. Here are some of the common defenses in the legal framework:
- Lack of knowledge: The lack of awareness of illegal substances can be a viable defense when it comes to simple possession. Though claiming ignorance won’t prove your innocence, it might alleviate your charges.
- Medical Use: Consuming marijuana for medical purposes is legal in many states. If a valid medical prescription for marijuana can be procured, then it is possible to bypass the charges easily.
- Unlawful Search and Order: Provoking the validity of a search is a common defense and a very good one, too. No evidence is applicable in court if they were obtained through unlawful searches.
- Duress: If you are able to prove that you were forced or persuaded to carry the illicit substance, then you might just be able to defend yourself in court.
- Substance Misidentification: Somehow, being able to prove that the substance isn’t marijuana or challenging the identification of the importance can serve as a good defense.
- Permission: You can try to prove that you are borrowing the substance with the consent of the owner.
- Null Warrant: Evidence gained through an invalid search warrant amounts to nothing. So you can try and prove that the warrant was null.
Getting in trouble with the law is no laughing matter and should be taken lightly. Marijuana is a popular recreational and medicinal component, but it also carries some negative connotations.
Even though the political paradigm is shifting, it still doesn’t mean the existing laws would be lenient. Carrying marijuana on your person could sound like a minuscule issue, but getting caught with it can lead to some serious repercussions. Hopefully, after reading through all that, you will know exactly what to do when facing such a situation.