Most Americans have grown up knowing that the purchase or sale of controlled drugs and substances is against the law. That being said, the legal landscape has become muddied in recent years with the passing of legislation that has legalized the purchase of marijuana in certain situations and under various jurisdictions. At the same time, there is still an age restriction placed on such a practice, and minors are not permitted to buy marijuana on their own in California. Because of this, it is important to understand the legal ramifications were you to be charged with a crime relating to selling marijuana to a minor in Los Angeles.
What Conduct is Prohibited Under This Health and Safety Code?
The specific Health and Safety Code Section in California that deals with selling marijuana to minors is 111361 HSC. It is actually applicable to various charges that involve minors and marijuana. An individual can violate this law, for example, if they are an adult over the age of 18 who decides to sell marijuana to any minor under the age of 18. It does not matter the reason why the adult chooses to sell to the minor.
This code also makes it against the law to hire or otherwise use a young person under the age of 18 to distribute marijuana, or to provide the drug for free to any young person under the age of 14. It is also against the law to coerce a minor into using marijuana. Finally, this code makes it against the law to even offer to sell marijuana to someone under the age of 18, even if a sale actually never takes place.
You Must Know the Person’s Age
If you sell marijuana to another person in California, the law requires that you confirm their age. Just believing that they are over the age of 18 is not good enough. This code prohibits adults from selling marijuana to any young person under the age of 18, regardless of whether or not the person selling knows the age of the buyer or not. One might even have a good reason to believe that the person being sold the marijuana is over the age of 18, but this code makes no such allowance. In other words, there is no good faith defense afforded defendants who are charged with this crime. If someone has the appearance of being over 18 years of age, that still would likely not be strong enough to launch a defense on.
Possible Sentences Involved in Selling Marijuana to a Minor
If you are convicted of selling marijuana to a minor, you need to understand that this can be rather serious. A conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years if the minor was between 14 and 18 years of age. If the individual who bought the marijuana was even younger than that, then a seven year prison sentence can be handed down.
Possible Defenses That Can Be Mounted
Remember that you are innocent until being proven guilty when it comes to selling marijuana to a minor. Because of the seriousness of this charge, you will want to make sure that you mount a defense that will either prove your innocence, or get you a reduced sentence when it is all said and done. There are actually several possible defenses that can be related to a criminal charge under this safety code. There are cases where law enforcement agencies have actively employed police decoys who are actually teenagers in disguise. Their purpose is to entrap individuals who are suspected of actively selling marijuana to minors. If this decoy were to become overly aggressive, or they work to induce you into violating this law, then an entrapment defense may be possible.
There are also situations where defendants have been involved in an operation that sells marijuana, but they were unaware that minors were being used to actually distribute the drug. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, you mind not be fully liable under this particular health and safety code. Regardless of the reason you have been charged with selling marijuana to a minor, you will want to seek out professional legal advice right away. Your lawyer can help guide you about the best possible defense and actively work to help you however they can. Do not delay. Contact a law firm in your area today.