Indigenous to Asia, Cannabis is a plant that grows naturally in many regions of the world. Marijuana has been consumed for thousands of years, but while some states wrestle with the legality of its use, conviction rates for the possession, cultivation, and trafficking remain high.
Organizations such as NORML have been pushing for changes in the laws and regulations of the plant. Although legal in some states, North Carolina still actively prosecutes crimes related to marijuana. Even the mere possession of the plant for personal use can lead to jail time, fines and a criminal record.
Raleigh Marijuana Defense Attorney
If you face any charge related to marijuana, contact a Raleigh cannabis defense attorney at Coolidge Law Firm. The attorneys will fight for your right to freedom and work with you to get the best possible outcome in your case. A drug conviction can have a serious impact on your future. It is important you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Coolidge Law Firm represents clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh Apex, Cary, Rolesville, Garner, Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina and Knightdale.Coolidge Law Firm also works with students at the region’s highly regarded schools, including Duke University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Wake Tech, and UNC – Chapel Hill. Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation.
Info on Cannabis Charges
- Marijuana Possession Charges Under North Carolina Law
- Sale and Cultivation of Marijuana in Wake County
- Federal Marijuana Charges
- Challenging Evidence in Marijuana-Related Charges
Cannabis is a Schedule VI controlled substance under N.C.G.S. § 90-94, making it illegal to even possess the drug in North Carolina. The state currently does not permit medical marijuana, so there can be no valid prescription, even if you were prescribed and legally obtained it in a state with legal cannabis laws.
Unlike most illegal substances, marijuana possession can be a misdemeanor under certain circumstances when the charge involves a very small amount. Possession of one-half ounce or less of marijuana is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which would result in a max fine of $200 and no jail time.
Possession of 1.5 ounces or less is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties would include up to 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of up to 10 pounds of marijuana for personal use is considered a Class 1 felony, which could lead to up to eight months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The penalties for marijuana charges increase with amount and your intent. Selling or intending to sell or distribute marijuana carries significantly more serious consequences including prison. Prosecutors can use a broad range of evidence to show intent to distribute, including the quantity of marijuana seized, and any evidence of tools of the trade such as packaging, a scale, or cash.
As the quantity of cannabis seized increases, do does the exposure to more severe punishments. The following are penalties for possession with intent to distribute:
- Possession of less than 10 pounds – Three to eight months in jail and $1,000 fine
- Possession of 10 to 50 pounds – Two to two and a half years in jail and $5,000 fine
- Possession of 50 to 2,000 pounds – Three to three and a half years in jail and $25,000 fine
- Possession of 2,000 to 10,000 pounds – Six to seven years in jail and $50,000 fine
- Possession of 10,000 or more pounds – Fourteen to 18 years in jail and $200,000 fine
After a felony drug conviction, there still could be consequences. You could lose your driving privileges in North Carolina even after serving your sentence. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help keep your right to drive.
Charges for selling marijuana have greater consequences under N.C.G.S. § 90-95 than those for possession. Law enforcement agencies are cracking down on the distribution of the drug, and with that is harsh penalties for those accused of transporting it.
Sale of less than 10 pounds of marijuana is a Class H felony punishable by four to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine for the first offense. Delivery of less than 10 pounds without compensation is a Class I felony punishable by three to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine for a first offense.
Marijuana cultivation also can result in charges of possession with intent to distribute. This can range from growing a handful of plants in your yard to producing thousands of plants.
The Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana a Schedule I drug, and even the mere possession of cannabis can result in federal charges. The act bans marijuana in all forms and uses, including medical uses, so federal agents can make an arrest for possession.
A first offense of possession is a misdemeanor, which could mean up to a year in federal prison and a $1,000 fine. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
However, the federal government often does not become involved in marijuana charges unless there is a large amount of the substance being trafficked. Trafficking is the large-scale cultivation, moving or selling of an illegal substance. The penalties for trafficking are determined by the amount of drugs involved.
The federal charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. Between 100 and 999 kilograms or 100 to 999 plants carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $5 million. Even higher quantities carry a minimum 10-year sentence and $10 million fine.
The actual cannabis seized is often the main evidence in cases involving possession, sale and cultivation of marijuana. The police must have legally obtained marijuana in order to successfully prosecute you. An improper search that we expose can often lead to a complete dismissal of your charges.
You have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Police must carefully follow procedure to ensure they have sufficient probable cause to conduct a search. A criminal defense attorney can examine all the evidence and fight to have all wrongfully obtained evidence suppressed which means it cannot be used against you at trial.
Finding the Best Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Wake County
If you are facing charges related to cannabis, contact a Raleigh marijuana defense attorney at Coolidge Law Firm. We dedicate ourselves to provide the best defense to our clients, and we do everything in our power to achieve a successful outcome in your case. If we find that the police discovered the drug and any other evidence without a legal warrant or without sufficient probable cause, we will protect your constitutional rights by having that evidence suppressed. Having an experienced attorney on your case could make all the difference. We are that difference. Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free case evaluation.