Articles Posted in Marijuana Sales

PETITION UNDER PROPOSITION 64 TO DISMISS AND SEAL OR TO REDUCE A PRIOR MARIJUANA CONVICTION

By a hefty margin of 56%, Prop 64 was passed in California on November 8. It is now legal for Californians over the age of 21 to possess, transport, and buy 28.5 grams (a little over one ounce) of marijuana for personal use. It is also now legal to grow up to six marijuana plants at a time.

So, what about all those Californians who were arrested and convicted for possessing or transporting amounts of marijuana now legal under the law?

The Marijuana Laws Are A-Changin’

Back in 1964 when Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” marijuana was called the “killer weed” and even simple possession was a felony in California carrying a sentence of one to ten years. Now over 60 years later, the citizens of California will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The wheels of change grind slowly.

California was the first state to enact laws allowing the regulated sale, cultivation, and use of medical marijuana. Since then, other states have pushed forward and made the recreational use of marijuana legal. Recreational use is now legal in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia. California has its own ballot initiative, which will be before the voters in the 2016 elections. If the initiative passes, the recreational use of marijuana will become legal.

A grove of marijuana plants was found a few weeks ago by Orange County Parks Personnel, which they believe had been growing for quite some time. The grove was discovered very close to a “really nice residential area”, which is unusual, especially a grove this large.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, approximately 2,500 to 4,000 plants were discovered in the Canyon area of the Laguna Wilderness Park and may be worth around $5 million. The plants are reported to be in various stages of growth and it seems clear that the grove has been there, unnoticed by residences and OC Parks Personnel, for a while. Although the plants were discovered outside of city limits, residence are shocked that anyone or any group, would be so brazen as to cultivate such a large grove of marijuana in such a visible area. They are equally as shocked that it went unnoticed long enough to grow so large.

On August 15, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began a marijuana cultivation eradication operation, which will consist of narcotics investigators hiking into the area, which is apparently very rugged, in order to pull up the plants manually. The Sheriff’s Department has also enlisted the help of an airship to lift the plants and carry them to a area nearby where they will be processed as evidence.

In California, Marijuana possession for sale is a felony. It doesn’t matter how much was sold, or whether or not the sale was witnessed. Law enforcement can base an arrest for sales on any or all of the following:

1) The amount of marijuana that was found;
2) The manner in which it is packaged;
3) Large amounts of cash;
4) The presence of a scale and or Baggies, which is typically used by drug dealers.

Any or all of the above would be enough for the district attorney to file formal charges. Law enforcement will almost always take the cell phone of someone they suspect to be selling marijuana and the district attorney can then use any information on that cell phone to further support the charges.

For prosecutors to prove their case, they must prove that:

1) The defendant possessed a controlled substance;
2) The defendant knew of its presence;
3) The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4) When the defendant possessed the controlled substance, he/she intended to sell it;
5) The controlled substance was marijuana; and
6) The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

To be found guilty of transportation of marijuana, the prosecution must prove that:

1) The defendant transported a controlled substance;
2) The defendant knew of it presence;
3) The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4) The controlled substance was marijuana and
5) The marijuana possessed by the defendant weighed more than 28.5 grams.

In a recent case, an investigation lead by the Newport Beach Police Department resulted in the seizure of 300 marijuana plants and about $24,000.00 in cash, after searching several homes in Orange County, California. As a criminal defense attorney my first thought is, was the search legal? Did the officers obtain search warrants before entering the homes and if so, were the search warrants obtained legally, following the criteria needed to obtain a search warrant.

According to authorities, in this particular situation, the initial investigation lead officers to indoor marijuana growing in Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach. The information they obtained further lead them to search a home in Lake Forest. The search of the home in Lake Forest resulted in officers obtaining additional information on a commercial building in Huntington Beach where more marijuana growing plants were found.

One man was pulled over and arrested and reportedly in possession of 24 pounds of marijuana when he was stopped. He has been booked on suspicion of transportation and sale of marijuana. Another man was taken into custody at his Laguna Niguel home after detectives found marijuana grow in his home, and 300 marijuana plants. A woman was taken into custody after searching her Lake Forest home and booked on suspicion of transportation and sale of marijuana. Another man and woman were arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale after a commercial building in Huntington Beach was searched and officers found more marijuana growing as well as nine pounds of marijuana. The marijuana seized in all, reportedly has a street value of about $200,000.00.

In this situation, there were several people involved, as well as several locations. This is an example of how crucial it would be to have an attorney who is experienced in not only criminal defense, but also, someone who has an understanding of the laws as they relate to illegal search and seizure. The officers involved in this investigation were required to follow the very specific laws as they relate to the proper procedures to obtain search warrants and therefore, this must be looked at very carefully, paying close attention to each detail that lead to each home and/or individual search.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession for sale of marijuana, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney in the county in which you are being charged can make the difference in felony possession and misdemeanor possession. An experienced drug defense attorney knows that police routinely use unreliable informants, defective search warrants, invasive tactics and other illegal methods to bust users, growers and dealers of marijuana. An aggressive attorney who looks closely at the arresting officers’ conduct, could make the difference in the case being dismissed.

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Border Patrol Agents recently arrested 9 men and seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana in Laguna Beach. While patrolling the Orange County coastline at midnight in Laguna Beach, the Border Patrol spotted a boat near Crystal Cove State Park. There were 7 men on the boat and 2 men waiting on the shore in an SUV. When the men began unloading and loading, the Border Patrol arrested the men and seized 26 bundles of marijuana. The street value of the marijuana is reported to be approximately $1.8 million.

In California, it is a felony to sell, transport or distribute marijuana and the penalties can be quite harsh. However, the penalties are significantly less if the person is transporting or giving away less than an ounce of marijuana. It then becomes a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine. But, even selling a small amount of marijuana is still a felony and can result in serious consequences.

Drug Possession with Intent to Sale

Law enforcement does not have to actually see a sale taking place in order to charge someone with felony possessio with intent to sell. They can rely on the circumstantial evidence at the time of the arrest. Typically, in a situation where no sale was witnessed, the amount of marijuana and the way it is packaged is used as evidence of sales. Also, the presence of scales for weighing, baggies for packaging and/or large amounts of cash are considered evidence of sales. The police also look for text messages and pay/own sheets.

Transportation and/or Distribution of Drugs

When an individual or group of people knowingly transfers an illegal drug from one place to another, they have committed the crime of transportation of narcotics. It doesn’t matter whether they are transporting a small amount or a large amount, it is a serious offense. The act of selling drugs to others is distribution.

Consequences of a Conviction for Drug Trafficking and/or Distribution

There are state and federal laws that govern sentencing of drug traffickers. The penalties vary depending upon the circumstances. Factors that are taken into consideration are: 1) What type schedule drug was it; 2) The amount of the drug; 3) Were minors involved; 4) Was the defendant part of a group or an individual; and 5) The location where the offense took place.

If convicted of drug trafficking, you could be facing many years in Federal Prison. However, there are defenses to this charge, which an experienced criminal defense attorney will be familiar with. Because the sentencing depends upon so many different variables, it is important that the details surrounding the arrest, seizure and interrogation be carefully looked at by your attorney. Paying close attention to the laws as they apply to law enforcement when it comes to search and seizure, as well as any violation of your amendment rights.

The Fourth Amendment guards against illegal search and seizure by law enforcement. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police personnel to ignore the law regarding search and seizure, which often times goes unnoticed. A good criminal defense attorney should scrutinize all aspects of the search, seizure and arrest, looking for mistakes or misconduct by law enforcement personnel.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug transportation/trafficking or distribution, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the County in which the arrest took place. Protecting the rights and mitigating the potential prison exposure for you or your family member should be your attorney’s first priority.

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Border Patrol Agents recently arrested 9 men and seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana in Laguna Beach. While patrolling the Orange County coastline at midnight in Laguna Beach, the Border Patrol spotted a boat near Crystal Cove State Park. There were 7 men on the boat and 2 men waiting on the shore in an SUV. When the men began unloading and loading, the Border Patrol arrested the men and seized 26 bundles of marijuana. The street value of the marijuana is reported to be approximately $1.8 million.

In California, it is a felony to sell, transport or distribute marijuana and the penalties can be quite harsh. However, the penalties are significantly less if the person is transporting or giving away less than an ounce of marijuana. It then becomes a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine. But, even selling a small amount of marijuana is still a felony and can result in serious consequences.

Drug Possession with Intent to Sale

Law enforcement does not have to actually see a sale taking place in order to charge someone with felony possessio with intent to sell. They can rely on the circumstantial evidence at the time of the arrest. Typically, in a situation where no sale was witnessed, the amount of marijuana and the way it is packaged is used as evidence of sales. Also, the presence of scales for weighing, baggies for packaging and/or large amounts of cash are considered evidence of sales. The police also look for text messages and pay/own sheets.

Transportation and/or Distribution of Drugs

When an individual or group of people knowingly transfers an illegal drug from one place to another, they have committed the crime of transportation of narcotics. It doesn’t matter whether they are transporting a small amount or a large amount, it is a serious offense. The act of selling drugs to others is distribution.

Consequences of a Conviction for Drug Trafficking and/or Distribution

There are state and federal laws that govern sentencing of drug traffickers. The penalties vary depending upon the circumstances. Factors that are taken into consideration are: 1) What type schedule drug was it; 2) The amount of the drug; 3) Were minors involved; 4) Was the defendant part of a group or an individual; and 5) The location where the offense took place.

If convicted of drug trafficking, you could be facing many years in Federal Prison. However, there are defenses to this charge, which an experienced criminal defense attorney will be familiar with. Because the sentencing depends upon so many different variables, it is important that the details surrounding the arrest, seizure and interrogation be carefully looked at by your attorney. Paying close attention to the laws as they apply to law enforcement when it comes to search and seizure, as well as any violation of your amendment rights.

The Fourth Amendment guards against illegal search and seizure by law enforcement. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police personnel to ignore the law regarding search and seizure, which often times goes unnoticed. A good criminal defense attorney should scrutinize all aspects of the search, seizure and arrest, looking for mistakes or misconduct by law enforcement personnel.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug transportation/trafficking or distribution, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the County in which the arrest took place. Protecting the rights and mitigating the potential prison exposure for you or your family member should be your attorney’s first priority.

Continue reading →

The Fountain Valley Police Department arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of cultivating and selling marijuana after they served a search warrant and discovered more than 150 marijuana plants. The plants were discovered in a home, along with a sophisticated growing operation. The street value is reported to be approximately $380,000.00. The man if facing charges of Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana for Sale.

As an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, my first thought is, was the warrant legal. Officers are required to follow very strict guidelines and laws as they relate to the proper procedures to obtain a search warrant. Close attention should be paid to what information lead to the home that was searched and how was the information obtained.

When hiring an attorney for this type of matter, it is important to look for an attorney who specializes in possession for sales cases, and just as important, who has a good knowledge of the law as it relates to illegal search and seizure.

For prosecutors to prove their case, they must prove that:

1) The defendant possessed a controlled substance;
2) The defendant knew of its presence;
3) The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4) When the defendant possessed the controlled substance, he/she intended to sell it;
5) The controlled substance was marijuana; and
6) The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Possession of marijuana for sales a felony. When determining whether or not to file possession for sales as opposed to just possession, there are a number of things that the prosecution will look at. They are:

1. The amount of marijuana found;
2. The manner in which it is packaged;
3. The presence of baggies, which are used to package marijuana;
4. The presence of scales for weighing; and
5. Large sums of money.

If you, or someone you know has been arrested for possession for sale of marijuana, hiring an attorney in the county where the case is being filed can make the difference between being convicted of felony possession for sales and misdemeanor possession. A good defense attorney knows that, police routinely use unreliable informants, defective search warrants, invasive tactics and other illegal methods to bust users. A proactive attorney who looks closely at the arresting officers’ conduct, could make the difference in the case being dismissed.

Continue reading →