Marijuana Laws: California Concentrated Cannabis Laws
When you think of marijuana, you probably imagine of green, leafy granules. However, within the last few years, a new form of marijuana has become more widespread. This substance is legally called “concentrated cannabis,” but is also known as hashish, honey oil, wax and dabs.
Concentrated cannabis is procured by extracting oils and other residue from raw marijuana leaves. While still containing the main ingredient of THC, this new form of marijuana is highly concentrated, which can give users a stronger, faster high than smoking marijuana. Concentrated cannabis is illegal in California, and you could be punished severely for possessing or producing this drug.
California Laws Regarding Concentrated Cannabis
Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11006.5, concentrated cannabis is defined as “the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana.” Marijuana is a Schedule I drug regardless of its form.
The Compassionate Use Act allows for those who obtain a prescription and medical marijuana license to use the substance. The Act allows for the cultivation of marijuana, but it does not allow for the production of concentrated cannabis by chemical extraction. California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5(b)(2) states that “nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.” The courts have found that the Compassionate Use Act does not act as a defense against the production of concentrated cannabis.
California law typically views concentrated cannabis similar to marijuana. Although you may legally possess concentrated cannabis with a prescription and a medical marijuana license, the unlawful possession of concentrated cannabis is a crime in California. All criminal laws that apply to marijuana also apply to concentrated cannabis.
However, Health and Safety Code Section 11357(a) separately covers the possession of concentrated cannabis. Under this law, it is a misdemeanor to unlawfully possess a useable amount of concentrated cannabis.
Prosecution of Concentrated Cannabis Crimes
In order to be found guilty of possessing concentrated cannabis, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Unlawfully possessed concentrated cannabis
- Knew of its presence
- Knew of the substance’s nature or character as concentrated cannabis; and
- Possessed a usable amount of concentrated cannabis
In order to be found guilty of possessing concentrated cannabis with the intent to sell under Health and Safety Code Section 11359, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements listed above and in addition must prove that you had the intent to sell the substance.
To be convicted of producing concentrated cannabis under Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Manufactured, compounded, converted, produced, derived, processed or prepared concentrated cannabis, directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or chemical synthesis; and
- Knew it was a controlled substance; or
- Offered to manufacture, compound, convert, produce, derive, process or prepare concentrated cannabis; and
- Intended to do so when you made the offer
Sentencing and Punishment for Concentrated Cannabis Crimes
Possession of concentrated cannabis is a misdemeanor in California. If you are convicted of this crime under PC 11357(a), you face up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $500.
If you possess concentrated cannabis with the intent to sell, you could be convicted of a felony in California. This crime carries a punishment of 16 months, two or three years in county jail.
Production of concentrated cannabis is also a felony under California Health and Safety Code Section 11358. If you are convicted under this law, you face 16 months, two or three years in county jail.
Legal Defenses to Concentrated Cannabis Crimes
A skilled criminal defense attorney will know several defenses to concentrated cannabis charges that could help you in your case. Some of these defenses include:
You were not in actual possession of the concentrated cannabis – Possession is considered “control,” so simply touching the substance is not enough to convict you of this crime. Simply agreeing to purchase concentrated cannabis isn’t considered possession.
You were unaware of its presence – If you did not know the substance was present, you should not be convicted of this crime. For instance, if you get into a vehicle and it turns out that there is concentrated cannabis under your seat but you were completely unaware that it was there, you should not be convicted of this crime.
You didn’t know that it was concentrated cannabis – Considering that it comes in many forms, if you had no idea that the substance you possessed was concentrated cannabis, this could be a valid defense to these charges.
You did not have a usable amount – If you had possession of residue or debris of concentrated cannabis, your skilled attorney could use this defense in your case.
The concentrated cannabis was legally prescribed – Under the Compassionate Use Act, you may be legally allowed to possess concentrated cannabis if you have a medical marijuana card and a prescription for concentrated cannabis.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Concentrated Cannabis Laws
What if there were two of us in a car and the other person claimed it was his?
If you were both aware of the presence of concentrated cannabis and both of you knew it was concentrated cannabis, both of you could be charged with possession of concentrated cannabis. Under the law, more than one person can possess a single item.
What if I had a prescription, but then my license expired and I went and purchased more?
If you don’t have a valid medical marijuana card and the drug was not legally prescribed to you, it is not covered under the Compassionate Use Act and cannot act as a defense.
What if the amount I had wasn’t enough to get me high?
The amount of concentrated cannabis that you possessed could still be considered “useable.” In order to be convicted of this crime, the amount of concentrated cannabis you possessed does not have to be enough to get you high.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime involving concentrated cannabis, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing drug-related charges for over 30 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.