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Health & Safety Code 11357(c) – Possession A More Than An A Ounce Of Marijuana

(c) Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not
more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.


Under this Code section, the defendant is accused of possessing more than 28.5 grams of marijuana. This crime is considered a misdemeanor under California law.

Potential sentence: Up to 6 months in county jail or a maximum fine of $500, or both.

To be guilty of this offense, the prosecutor must prove these elements:

  1. The defendant illegally possessed marijuana
  2. He or she knew that the marijuana was present
  3. That he or she knew the marijuana was an illegal drug
  4. That the substance found was in fact marijuana.
  5. The marijuana weighed more than 28.5 grams.
  • Second Element: A defendant must have knowledge of the presence of the narcotic, and it's nature as a controlled substance. The defendant does not need to know exactly what drug he or she possessed, just that it was an illegal substance.People v. Romero (1997) 55 Cal. App. 4th 147.
  • Fourth Element: The prosecution must prove that the substance has the chemical properties which identify it as the Cannabis sativa L. plant.

Defense: Medical Marijuana

To assert a defense that the defendant legally possessed marijuana as medical marijuana, the defendant must show that there is a reasonable doubt that his or her possession is lawful. People v. Mower (2002) 28 Cal.4th 457.

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