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California Health and Safety Code Section 11359 HSC: Possession For Sale Of Marijuana

As you probably already know, state laws in California and elsewhere across the United States have changed significantly when it comes to marijuana. Now, not only is it legal for those who have medical cards to purchase, possess and use certain amounts of marijuana, but it’s even legal for California residents to use recreationally.

However, you should know that just because laws have changed does not mean that everything that is related to marijuana is legal. For example, in order to be used legally, marijuana should be purchased from licensed dispensaries, whether they are licensed for medical or recreational use. Selling marijuana to citizens when you do not own or work for a licensed dispensary is against the law. If you are caught in possession of marijuana with the intention to sell it, or if you are caught selling marijuana, you could face serious felony charges.

How Does Law Enforcement Determine That a Person is Planning on Selling Marijuana?

For one thing, you could be wondering how law enforcement officers can tell whether or not a person has marijuana for their own use or if they have it and are intending to sell it. There are various things that law enforcement officers look at when making this distinction. For one thing, they determine whether the quantity of marijuana that a person has in their possession appears to be more than what an individual would have for personal consumption.

Additionally, they may look at the other surrounding evidence. Someone who has their marijuana bagged up into small, individual bags might be seen as more likely to be selling their marijuana than someone who has it all in one bag or container. Someone who only has individual use paraphernalia in their possession might just have their marijuana for personal use, whereas someone who has scales, baggies and other paraphernalia that is commonly associated with selling marijuana could be charged with possession for sale of marijuana.

Law enforcement might also look at where the person is located and what the person is doing at the time of the charge. For example, someone who is hanging out in an area that is commonly known for the selling of drugs could be charged.

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove?

Of course, as with any case, the prosecution has to prove its case before a person can be convicted of this crime. The prosecution must prove that the individual had possession of the marijuana, knew that he or she had the marijuana, knew what it was and intended to sell it.


If a person is found hanging out outside of a convenience store in a high-crime area with multiple bags of small quantities of marijuana, law enforcement might suspect that the individual is selling marijuana. This is particularly true if the person has scales or other paraphernalia that is related to the sale of drugs.

Alternatively, if a person has the amount of marijuana that he or she is allowed to possess in the State of California on his or her possession and has it in one bag or container, this may not be possession for the sale of marijuana.

Possible Defenses for Your Case

There are various ways that a defense lawyer can defend you in court if you have been charged with this crime. Your lawyer might argue that the marijuana that you had in your possession was meant for your own personal use or that you intended to provide it for someone for whom you are an authorized caregiver.

Of course, how your lawyer will be able to defend your case will depend on a number of things. Because of this, it’s typically best to speak to a lawyer yourself. Then, you can tell him or her about the specifics of the case and can get advice that is specifically tailored to your individual situation.

Penalties for Possession for Sale of Marijuana

The penalties for possession for sale of marijuana can be surprisingly strict. In fact, if you are convicted of this felony, you could actually face three years in a state prison. Then, you have to worry about the effects that a felony can have on your life, including difficulty in finding a job or securing housing.

What to Do if You Have Been Charged

It’s important not to wait to seek legal counsel after you have been accused of possession for sale of marijuana. You could be facing serious penalties for this crime. All is not lost, however; there are many experienced attorneys who have helped Californians with these cases in the past, and you can get help with your case, as well. See an experienced lawyer to find out more about how you can be defended in court.

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