Millions of Americans smoke marijuana on a regular basis. They do so either for recreation or medical purposes. Laws surrounding marijuana possession have been easing up in recent years. This trend has led many people to worry less about smoking or owning marijuana in a way that may be apparent to law enforcement. But marijuana possession is still a crime in many states and can be punishable by jail time. Knowing the law in your state is essential to fighting and minimizing a marijuana possession charge.
Marijuana possession law
The field of marijuana possession law has changed significantly over the past two decades. This drug has gone from a complete pariah to one that is frequently used legally in a large number of states. Millions of dollars are made each year on the sale of legal marijuana and there are a large number of industries that have emerged to capitalize on the trend. While legal marijuana is a fact of life for a large number of Americans, there are still many areas where it is not allowed in any way, shape, or form.
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government.
While federal authorities have decided not to prosecute drug cases in states where marijuana is legal, in other states they have state laws that match the Schedule 1 classification. Schedule 1 classification means that marijuana is not allowed as a controlled substance for health conditions like opioids or amphetamines. It is not legal to consume or possess marijuana in any fashion.
As a result, people who are arrested for possession of marijuana in states such as New York can face significant fines and even jail time. These penalties are compounded if a person can be charged with manufacturing or distribution of marijuana as well as possession. Possession is often seen as the “easy” charge that opens an individual up to much more serious charges.
How possession law is prosecuted
Possession law is prosecuted in a handful of different ways. In most instances, it is viewed as a simplistic arrest. A person is often only arrested if the substance is found on their body or on their person. Law enforcement personnel submit this substance as evidence. Then, there is a significant burden of proof for an individual to show why the substance was found on them. If there is no plausible answer backed up by corroborating evidence, the marijuana and testimony from an arresting officer is often all that is needed to garner a conviction on a marijuana possession charge. Officers may also seek the testimony of other witnesses and the collection of drug paraphernalia to point to a possession charge.
What to do
Anyone who is arrested for a drug possession charge needs to secure release from custody. Once they are free, they should immediately seek out the advice and assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer will help individuals collect evidence and pursue their case. Many people may believe that a lawyer will be ineffective for a possession case because the law and evidence rules are so clear. But this concept is incomplete for many reasons. No criminal case is absolutely perfect. There is the chance that police officers have misplaced valuable evidence or have worked in an illicit manner to obtain witness testimony.
Lawyers will help an individual build their best possible case and take advantage of any potential problems with the prosecution. Ignoring the help of a lawyer will result in a person losing their case and facing serious repercussions in the vast majority of instances. Even the most minor marijuana possession cases could lead to a person facing jail time and the potential loss of their job and dignity. These negative factors mean that a lawyer will be well worth the cost no matter how minor a possession charge might be.
Marijuana possession remains a serious situation in many states across the country. Even in states where marijana is ostensibly legal, it is still possible fora person to own it illegally. Anyone with marijuana or considering acquiring it should be aware of these laws and their impact on a person’s life and potential freedom. THey should consider all of these circumstances before they decide to indulge.