How much weed is a felony in California, anyway? What is the California felony weight limit?
Things have progressed over the last decade and a half or so. In 2011, California voters passed Proposition 36, which changed some of the penalties associated with marijuana possession. In general, for adults aged 18 and up:
Misdemeanor offenses are reduced from a potential jail sentence to a maximum of six months in county jail and/or a $500 fine. Any prior felony convictions for possession of marijuana will become a misdemeanor offense.
Felony offenses are reduced from potential jail sentences to a maximum fine of $500. However, if you have two or more prior felony convictions for certain offenses involving the same controlled substance(s), those previous convictions can still result in a state prison sentence.
If you have one prior felony conviction for certain offenses involving the same controlled substance(s), that previous charge can still result in a county jail sentence. Fortunately, this no longer applies to CBD and hemp after the federal legalization of these products.
A misdemeanor marijuana offense is considered “simple” possession, while a felony offense is considered possession with intent to sell (otherwise known as “distributing”). Fortunately, things have been changing in California as recreational marijuana legalization has changed this state’s landscape.
How Much Weed is a Felony in California 2022
At this point, those who cultivate over 6 marijuana plants are committing a felony in California. But most of the time, this is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of as much as $500.
However, for those who have a serious violent felony on record, are a registered sex offender, have violated specific California environmental laws during their cultivation activities, or have two or more previous cultivation convictions, these defendants will likely face felony charges.
Meanwhile, those who possess more than one ounce of marijuana for personal consumption will likely face misdemeanor charges. This is true even under the new laws that went into effect at the beginning of 2018 thanks to Proposition 64.
So, when does “possession” turn into intent to deliver in California? Prosecutors and police look at a number of factors in order to make the determination. Some of these include:
- Whether or not you are in possession of any paraphernalia associated with distribution (i.e., scales, baggies, etc.)
- Whether your cultivation activities took place indoors or outdoors
- A past criminal record related to cultivation
- Whether or not this is a first-time offense for you
- Whether or not you have a medical marijuana card
- Whether or not there were any threats or violence involved in your offense
What Does This Mean if You are Caught with Marijuana?
This is ultimately at the discretion of the law enforcement agency, prosecutor, and eventually the judge. Some pot smokers tend to forget that weed remains illegal under federal law. It will be up to the discretion of local authorities whether or not they want to prioritize going after these types of offenders.
Adults 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to have up to 28.5 grams of dried marijuana flower on them at a time. They can also hold up to eight grams of concentrated cannabis. For those who want to grow at home, this is permitted, but only up to six marijuana plants.
If you’re caught with in excess of any of these numbers, you can face criminal prosecution. This, of course, can include misdemeanor and felony charges.
Keep this in mind if you’re a consumer. And if you operate a cannabis business, make sure to abide by all rules and regulations in place!