Under Prop. 64, it is legal for individuals aged 21 and over to possess, privately use, and even give away up to an ounce of marijuana. This means that, in most cases, it is legal to give marijuana as a gift. However, there are some rules to be aware of in order to avoid giving the gift of legal trouble to your intended recipient or yourself.
Here is a look at some of the issues to be aware of when gifting someone with up to an ounce of marijuana. Dod Law, APC is also available if you have any other questions related to the legal consequences or rules of giving marijuana as a gift in California.
The Recipient Must Be Old Enough
Prop. 64 only legalized the use, sale, and possession of marijuana in California for those who are at least 21 years old. Just as it is unlawful to give someone under the age of 21 an alcoholic drink, you also cannot give them marijuana. Illegally selling or giving away marijuana is a misdemeanor. However, knowingly furnishing marijuana to a minor can result in felony charges, punishable by a prison sentence of three years or more. It is also
The recipient of the gift can also face legal difficulties. Underage possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by someone between the ages of 18-21 will generally result in a $100 fine. Those under 18 will not be fined but will be required to perform community service and complete drug counseling.
California’s law does permit users between the ages of 18-20 to possess marijuana, but only if they got it from a state-licensed medical dispensary. They cannot obtain marijuana from a recreational dispensary or as a gift unless the gift is provided by a primary caregiver.
You Cannot Give More Than an Ounce
Individuals in California can only gift up to an ounce of marijuana, or eight grams of concentrates. More than this can leave either the gift-giver or the receiver in jeopardy of being charged with illegal possession, which is a misdemeanor. Illegal possession carries a potential incarceration period of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, and probation.
In most cases, if an individual is charged with illegal possession for gifting more than an ounce of marijuana to a friend, or the friend is charged with illegal possession for accepting the gift, there will be an opportunity for informal diversion. Informal diversion consists of community services, drug education or counseling, and a fine in lieu of incarceration.
You Cannot Mail Your Gift
While it is legal to possess, buy, or even gift up to an ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates in California, it is important to remember that cannabis is still a controlled substance at the federal level. What this means is that you cannot transport the gift across state lines, and you definitely cannot send it through the U.S. mail without the risk of severe legal consequences, even if your recipient is also in California. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a federal agency.
Mailing marijuana places you at risk of federal drug trafficking charges. The first offense for this charge is not less than five years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, provided the drugs were only trafficked by one individual.
Your Recipient Could Risk Getting Fired or Evicted
Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal law, along with several other drugs, such as heroin and LSD. This means that marijuana is still classified as a dangerous drug, and the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act requires employers in certain industries, including those who contract with the government, to screen for marijuana use as a condition of employment or if there is a workplace accident.
Likewise, many landlords in California offer their rentals as drug-free residences and even prohibit possessing or using marijuana as a clause in the lease. If a tenant violates this provision in their lease, they can be evicted. Gifting someone up to an ounce of marijuana can put them at risk of losing their job or even their home due to the disconnect between state legalization and federal prohibition.
If You’re Facing Charges for Gifting or Receiving Marijuana, Contact Dod Law, APC
While it is legal to give the gift of up to an ounce of marijuana to someone in California, many individuals may face unexpected consequences. Those who have been charged with drug possession, trafficking, or charge due to gifting or receiving marijuana may need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help them navigate the criminal investigation process and avoid the harsh consequences that drug charges may bring.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer from Dod Law, APC can meet with you to discuss the charges against you and help you begin developing a defense strategy. With nearly two decades of providing criminal defense services in San Diego, the legal team at Dod Law, APC has helped thousands of individuals. For your free consultation, contact us online or by calling (619) 814-5110.