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Marijuana is a much more versatile plant than many people realize. The general trend among states to legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize it as California has done has led to those uneducated about the drug to understand how marijuana can be modified as edible as well as being produced in ingestible forms. However, there is a process of enhancing the power of the active ingredient THC by compounding the active chemical into a concentrated form, commonly called hash or hashish. When the state of California reduced possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to an infraction instead of a criminal charge legislators also made a distinction between typical organic marijuana and enhanced processed marijuana. The result was that concentrated cannabis would remain a scheduled drug and possession could be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the material case facts of the arrest. Of course, there is a major distinction between the two levels of crime, especially concerning incarceration potential, and having an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will be essential for the possibility of a lessened charge.
Different Types of Concentrated Cannabis
The evolution of legalized medical marijuana in California has led to a new line of products for those who have legal prescriptions, and now there are a significant number of alternative forms of marijuana that are manufactured in concentrated forms. The most traditional concentrated cannabis product has been hash, also known as hashish, and has been the substance central to most concentrated cannabis possession or traffic charges. Other forms of concentrated cannabis include honey oils and dabs, or swabs, but the most popular alternative forms are edible. California does view possession of these drugs similar to marijuana, but the level of the charge for illegal possession could easily be a “wobbler” prosecution that could potentially be processed as a misdemeanor. The potential for a felony conviction is always present when an individual is arrested with any of these alternate forms of marijuana unless they have a certified medical marijuana identification charge.
Penalties for Possession and Trafficking
Marijuana has been decriminalized in California since 2011 and possession of organic marijuana under one ounce is an infraction, which is not classified as a crime, and the fines are generally minimal. But, trafficking in any form of marijuana can be very serious and carry harsh penalties when aggravated circumstances can be applied. In addition, for concentrated cannabis related charges, the method of modification of the active ingredient can matter greatly in potential jail time. Concentration processes that do not require chemical concentration are punishable by up to three years in jail, but concentrated cannabis that includes other controlled substance can result in up to seven years of incarceration with a $50,000 fine. Many forms of enhanced marijuana include other drugs that are considered very dangerous and aggravated circumstances can be applied.
Importance of a Charge Reduction
While trafficking in concentrated cannabis is rarely prosecuted as a misdemeanor, this cannot be said of possession charge situations. The amount of the drug in question can make a major difference in the possibility of a reduced charge when your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney negotiates with the district attorney. The future impact of a conviction can cause a defendant to be denied significant employment or public housing as well as establish a felony criminal history. A misdemeanor level charge can also be dismissed when your attorney can negotiate a drug education class in a deferred judgement agreement as allowed by California law.