Possessing marijuana or any other “illegal drug” may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, a felony is a serious charge that can get you locked up for a very long time. So the question is. When does a marijuana charge turn into a felony?
How old are you right now?
Back in 2016, Devontre Thomas, a 19 year old graduate from Chemawa Indian School in Salem, faced federal drug charges over a single gram of marijuana. Although the charges were later dropped, some teens are not so lucky. If caught, teens and young adults face serious legal consequences for drug possession or use.
If you get a call that your child has tested positive for drugs or that he/she has been found in possession of marijuana or any other drug. The consequences your child may face include:
- Denied college applications.
- If convicted of the crime, your child will not be eligible for college financial aid.
- Your child may have to disclose their drug conviction on job applications, making it difficult for him or her to get a job.
- If your child participates in sports, he or she may get suspended or lose a scholarship.
- Possible jail time
- Mandatory participation in court ordered rehabilitation or participation in community service.
The problem with that is, if you “enter the system” because of marijuana at a very young age. Getting out of it is very difficult.
According to vice, more than 850,000 juveniles are arrested annually. Because of that, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of minors. This is not a problem that affects people in faraway lands.
The truth is, if you are a marijuana user and are currently in a state where it is illegal to use or possess weed. You or your child may face marijuana felony charges in future.
That may happen if:
- You distribute or traffic marijuana or any other controlled substance.
- Possess marijuana with intention to distribute or sell.
- Smuggle a controlled substance.
What you should never do if your child is found in possession of marijuana or any other drug is:
- Let your child agree to cooperate in being a “snitch” against others.
- Give police consent to search your home, property or vehicle.
The best option you have if things escalate is to contact a lawyer.
Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug, meaning, if you are found trafficking it you face serious consequences. If death or serious injury results from the substance you are caught with, you face 20 or more years behind bars.
The good thing is, marijuana is a very safe drug and the bad thing is synthetic weed is not.
Remember State laws are not uniform, therefore, I advise you to look at marijuana laws in your state here:
Marijuana Trafficking Penalties
|Less than 50 kgs/10 kgs of hashish/ 1kilogram of hashish oil/1to 49 plants||Felony||Up to 10 years|
|100 to 999 kgs||Felony||10 years to life|
|50 to 99 Kgs or 50-99 plants||Felony||Up to 30 years|
|1000 kg or more||Felony||20 years to life|
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, 94.5% of offenders facing marijuana trafficking charges are sentenced to imprisonment (2012). The average sentence length for marijuana traffickers was 34 months.
I repeat. State laws are different, so before you decide to travel with any amount of weed. Make sure that you understand the consequences.
2: Felony Marijuana Possession
In most states, possession charges turn into a felony if you are found in possession of over 1lb of weed. If convicted the maximum sentences you may receive are as follows:
|Possession any amount||penalty||Incarceration||Fine $|
|First offense||Misdemeanor||1 year||1,000|
|Second offense||Misdemeanor||15 days to 2 years||2,500|
|Subsequent offense||Felony or misdemeanor||3 years||5,000|
3: Possession With Intent To Distribute
|Less than 50 kg||Felony||5 years||250,000|
|50-99 kg||Felony||20 years||1,000,000|
|100-999 kg||Felony||5-40 years||500,000|
|1000 kg or more||Felony||10 years to life||1,000,000|
4: Manufacturing And Cultivation
|Number of Plants||Penalty||Incarceration||Fine $|
|Less than 50 plants||Felony||5 years||250,000|
|1000+||felony||10 years to life||1,000,000|
How to Expunge Marijuana Charge From Your Record
States such as California, Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire and Oregon have made it easier for people convicted of crimes such as cultivation, possession or manufacture of marijuana to get their records sealed or expunged. However, getting your record expunged in states where marijuana is still illegal can be expensive. You may have to hire a lawyer and the process is not as straight forward as it sounds.
If you have a criminal record, the reasons why you should consider getting it expunged are:
- The records are permanently removed from public access.
- Marijuana charge will never show up on a background check.
- Reference to the charge is deleted from the court and police records (depends on state law).
When does a marijuana charge turn into a felony? Generally, the amount of weed you are caught with and state laws will determine what you are charged with. Large amounts of weed will earn you felony charges and small amounts may earn you misdemeanor charges.
Although marijuana is now legal in some states, the law is still there, meaning, you must obey it if you want to stay out of prison. If you choose to break the law, make sure you are not caught and if you are below 21. Stay away from drugs.