California law and societal attitudes about drugs have changed in recent years, but drugs are still strictly controlled under state law. If you have been accused of drug-related crimes, the exact charges against you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case. The type of drug, the quantity of the drugs and many other factors can make the difference between misdemeanor charges and serious felonies.
Different drug classes and consequences
Like federal law, California law classifies drugs into schedules, with Schedule I drugs the most heavily regulated. Schedule I drugs include substances such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis. Charges involving Traditionally, criminal charges involving Schedule I carry the strictest penalties.
However, after the legalization of medical marijuana, California began to relax its cannabis laws. Since the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, possession of limited quantities of most Schedule I drugs has been punishable as a misdemeanor in California. Proposition 64 also allowed for adults over 21 to possess up to 28.5 grams of cannabis or up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate.
It’s important to remember that this relaxation of cannabis laws applies only to California law. Cannabis remains illegal under federal law, and anyone convicted of offenses involving even small amounts of Schedule I drugs in a federal case will face the possibility of severe penalties.
Furthermore, even within California, drugs are still heavily regulated. People found in possession of more than 28.5 grams of cannabis could face a penalty of up to 6 months in jail. Possession of more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis could result in up to a year in jail.
Defending against drug charges
When attitudes about drugs and laws concerning drugs are changing rapidly, it can be easy to end up on the wrong side of the law and in need of a strong defense. A person who transports a small amount of cannabis from California, where it is legal, to a state where it is illegal could find themselves facing federal charges in some cases. Even here in California, a single gram can make the difference between no charges and a serious criminal charge.