On February 26, 2015, Initiative 71 made it legal for adults to cultivate and possess marijuana under certain circumstances in the District of Columbia. Some activities involving marijuana are still illegal. In order to protect yourself from criminal consequences, it is important to understand exactly what is legal and what is not.
If you are convicted of a marijuana offense, it is important to ensure that you have an attorney who understands the new laws and the implications of the new changes. The experienced D.C. marijuana attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel are experts in defending marijuana possession and marijuana distribution charges. In order to get the most zealous advocates on your side, contact Bruckheim & Patel if you or someone you know has been charged with a possession of marijuana offense in the District of Columbia.
DC Marijuana Possession
Adults may legally possess two ounces or less of marijuana. Possession of more than two ounces of marijuana is still a crime in the District.
If an adult is found with more than two ounces of marijuana in his or her possession, the person can be convicted of a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 6 months and/or a $1,000 fine.
Adults may grow up to six marijuana plants in their primary private residence. However, only three of the plants may be mature at one time. One single house may not have more than twelve cannabis plants.
The new D.C. marijuana law allows an adult to transfer marijuana to another person under specific conditions. First, both of the adults involved in the transfer must be 21 years old or older. Second, the transfer must be made without payment of any kind. Third, the transfer cannot involve more than one ounce of marijuana.
It is important to note that the sale of marijuana is still a crime in the District of Columbia.
An individual can be convicted of a crime if he or she distributes, manufactures, or possesses with the intent to distribute marijuana outside of the above guidelines. The amount of penalties for the distribution, manufacturing, or possession with intent to distribute marijuana depends on the amount of marijuana involved.
If the amount of marijuana involved is ½ pound (8 ounces) or less, a first-offender can be sentenced for up to 6 months and/or a fine of $1,000. A first offender may also have the option, within the court’s discretion, to enter a plea of guilty, defer proceedings, and conduct a period of probation for up to a year. If the individual successfully completes the probation and abides by all of the criteria set by the court, the case will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period.
If an individual is convicted of a second or subsequent offense involving 1/2 pound of marijuana or less, a conviction can include a sentence of up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000.
If the amount of marijuana involved is over 1/2 pound, the sentence can include incarceration up to 5 years and/or a fine up to $50,000.
DC law also prohibits distributing marijuana or possessing marijuana with the intention to distribute within 1000 of certain facilities. Those facilities include: public housing buildings, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, day car centers, public swimming pools, playgrounds, video arcades, youth centers, or public libraries. Distribution or possession with the intent to distribute around any of these facilities carries a double sentencing penalty.
DC Marijuana Offenses Involving Underage Persons
The marijuana legalization in D.C. only applies to adults 21 years old or older. An individual under age 21 is not permitted to possess marijuana, receive marijuana, or transfer marijuana to another.
If a person sells marijuana to an individual under 21, the conviction brings an enhanced penalty. This means that if the individual sold or intended to sell an amount of marijuana over ½ pound to an individual under 21, the sentence can be up to 10 years and/or a fine of $100,000. A conviction for a first time offender for less than ½ pound can be up to 1 year and/or $1,000. For a subsequent offense, the sentence can be up to 4 years and/or a fine of $10,000.
The punishment for using a minor to distribute marijuana is very severe. If an individual over the age of 21 enlists a minor to distribute marijuana, that individual can be sentenced to up to either 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both. If an individual is convicted a subsequent offense for enlisting a minor for distribution, the maximum sentence an individual can receive is either 20 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in the District of Columbia, you need to make sure that you have professional and experienced attorneys fighting for you. Contact the skilled DC marijuana possession and distribution lawyers at Bruckheim & Patel at 202-930-3464 for a free consultation today.