Marijuana Sentencing Alternatives

Locate a Local Criminal Lawyer

Find Lawyers in Other Categories
Most Common Defense and Criminal Law Issues

What Is the Legal Status of Marijuana?

Federal laws make the possession and distribution of marijuana illegal. However, decriminalization movements, use of medical marijuana, and social acceptance of marijuana have already been reflected in many state laws. In fact, currently as many as 30 different jurisdictions have legalized some marijuana use according to a range of different restrictions. As a result, marijuana sentencing alternatives in several states have drastically changed in the past decade. 

Many states have implemented laws that decriminalize marijuana possession, or that greatly reduce the legal penalties associated with marijuana violations. Unlike other types of drug crimes and drug-related offenses, marijuana crimes often carry with them various sentencing alternatives. 

What Are Some Marijuana Sentencing Alternatives?

Depending on your local state’s laws, there may be several non-jail alternatives for persons charged with marijuana-related offenses. These can include:

For some of these sentencing alternatives, emphasis is placed on the defendant completing the required measures. For example, if the defendant fails to attend probation courses, they may lose their probation privileges, and will instead face normal sentencing methods like fines or jail time.

What Is an “Aggravating Factor” in Relation to Marijuana Crimes?

In states that have not decriminalized marijuana, legal penalties are similar to those for other drug offenses. These penalties can have a wide range depending on the nature of the charge (possession, distribution, cultivation), the quantity of marijuana seized, and the sentencing guidelines of the state. In addition, greater penalties may be imposed if certain aggravating factors are included in the charge. 

Some aggravating factors include:

Thus, even with more relaxed state policies, it’s still possible for a person to be subjected to serious criminal consequences for a marijuana crime. Also, even in jurisdictions where marijuana use is legal under state law, federal law still considers marijuana to be an illegal substance. While the previous presidential administration stated it would not interfere with state marijuana laws, as of May 2017 it remains unclear how the current administration will enforce federal marijuana policy.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

While many states are moving toward decriminalizing marijuana, there can still be severe penalties for violating marijuana laws. If you have been charged with a marijuana related crime, it is important to consult a skilled criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can inform you of possible defenses, advocate for you in court, and seek available sentencing alternatives to keep you out of jail.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 06-06-2017 01:02 AM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

LegalMatch Service Mark