Marijuana laws across the country can be complex and due to their ever-changing nature, it can be difficult to keep up. If you’re found to be in possession of marijuana, it can still land you with criminal charges if you do not have a legitimate reason for having it (i.e. for medicinal purposes).
Possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or a federal offense and this will largely depend on how much of it you have at the time of your arrest.
Anything over two ounces is a felony offense
If you are found to be in possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, the penalty is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Moving upwards from this point, increased amounts are considered a felony offense:
- Possession of two ounces to 0.5 pounds is a Class 6 felony
- Possession of 0.5 pounds to one pound is a Class 5 felony
- Possession of between one pound and ten pounds is a Class 4 felony
- Possession of anything above ten pounds is a Class 3 felony
Each of these offenses carries criminal charges and a significant fine. For a misdemeanor offense, this can result in jail time of up to one year and a maximum fine of $2,000.
As for each of the felony offenses, the penalties will increase in seriousness in line with the amount of marijuana involved. For Class 6 felonies, you can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in jail with a $4,000 fine. In the most serious of cases, a Class 3 felony carries a fifteen year period of incarceration and a maximum $30,000 fine.
Given the seriousness of the consequences that come with even a misdemeanor offense of marijuana possession, it’s important to understand what your rights are and how to best present your defense.