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Orland Park Cannabis Possession Attorney

Joliet Marijuana Possession Lawyer for Drug Charges Related to Cannabis

Marijuana is a drug that is used by many people, and in recent years, it has become more acceptable, with states like Illinois treating it similar to alcohol. However, there are still some situations where people may face drug charges related to marijuana/cannabis. Understanding the potential penalties that a person may face if they are accused of the illegal possession or distribution of marijuana can help ensure that they will be prepared to defend against these charges. At Issa Law, LLC, we can provide legal representation in these cases, helping our clients resolve charges related to cannabis and avoid convictions whenever possible.

Charges for Marijuana Possession

Illinois has joined a multitude of states that allow the medicinal use of cannabis (marijuana), and adults are also allowed to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. Illinois residents who are over the age of 21 can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana plants, 500 milligrams of THC in products that have been infused with cannabis, or five grams of concentrated cannabis.

However, those who possess amounts of marijuana in excess of the legal limits may face criminal charges. Simply possessing a large amount can put a person at risk of a sentence of several years in prison. This is true even when there is no delivery or intent to deliver the large quantity. Additionally, when a person is accused of committing a second or subsequent offense, the sentence can increase based on a prior violation of the law.

The term "possession" is broad and far reaching. A person does not need to be in actual, physical possession of cannabis in order to be convicted. For instance, if cannabis is found in a vehicle carrying multiple people, they may all be charged with possession of cannabis. This would be done under a theory of "constructive" and "joint" possession. Constructive possession would entail a person violating the law banning the possession of cannabis without having actual, physical possession of the cannabis, so long as that person knew, or should have known, of the presence of cannabis and had control or dominion over the cannabis. Joint possession would mean that more than one person had possession of the cannabis through constructive possession.

Success Story: Despite the fact that the term "possession" is wide-ranging, we have won numerous trials on behalf of clients who have been charged with these offenses. We have been successful in obtaining dismissals of these charges for our clients by demonstrating that the police conducted unlawful searches.

In general, possession of more than 30 grams of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor, and a person convicted of this offense may be sentenced to up to 364 days in county jail and fined up to $2,500. Possession of more than 100 grams of cannabis may lead to felony charges, and a person may face a sentence of more than one year in a state prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Probation or court supervision may be possible depending on the charge, and these offenses may be eligible for expungement or sealing.

Charges for Delivering or Distributing Marijuana

While Illinois law now allows for the recreational possession and use of small amounts of cannabis, and licensed cannabis dispensaries can sell marijuana to adults over the age of 21, manufacturing or delivering cannabis without the proper license is illegal. Under the Illinois law, four acts are explicitly prohibited. These acts are: 1) manufacturing cannabis, 2) delivering (selling) cannabis, 3) possessing cannabis with the intent to deliver and 4) possessing cannabis with the intent to manufacture. Cannabis includes, but is not limited to plants, stalks, oils and seeds related to the cannabis plant.

While delivering or manufacturing cannabis may be somewhat easy to prove, the state can have a much more difficult time proving that someone possessed large amounts of cannabis with the intent to deliver. There are numerous facts or pieces of evidence that can allow a jury or judge to reasonably infer that someone possessed cannabis with the intent to distribute it illegally. While the recovery of large amounts of cannabis alone will often not be enough to prove that the possessor intended to deliver it, that large amount can be used in conjunction with other items of evidence to show an intent to deliver. This evidence may include scales, large amounts of cash, items commonly used in the delivery of cannabis (i.e. small baggies), and the recovery of weapons.

Delivery of small amounts of cannabis (10 grams or less) may result in misdemeanor charges. However, delivery of more than 10 grams is a felony offense. Cases involving large amounts of marijuana may result in Class 1 or Class X felony charges. A person convicted of a Class X felony may be sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison and fined up to $200,000. Depending on the charges, probation may be possible, and court supervision may be available for misdemeanor charges.

Additionally, a conviction for manufacturing, delivering, or possessing cannabis with the intent to deliver is punished more harshly if done within 1,000 feet of a school or school-owned property. For example, delivering cannabis in a fast food parking lot that is across the street from a school will subject a person to increased charges and sentences, so long as the location of the delivery was within 1,000 feet of the school. Delivering cannabis to anyone under the age of 18 may also result in increased charges, especially if the person delivering the cannabis is at least three years older than the person receiving the cannabis. A person charged with this offense did not have to know that the person they delivered the cannabis to was under the age of 18. In these cases, a judge will have the discretion to impose a sentence up to double the standard sentence that would apply.

Success Story: We had represented a client who was found to have had just over 100 grams of marijuana in his home. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. At trial, we were able to defend him by using evidence and arguments that the marijuana was for his (extended) personal use, and he had no intent to sell or deliver any of the marijuana. His only intent was to use it personally. There were numerous factors we were able to demonstrate to the judge to address this issue. With the "average" person rolling 2-3 joints from a gram of marijuana, we had an uphill battle to convince the judge how having the equivalent of 200-300 joints in his home was for "personal use", but we were successful.

Production or Possession of Marijuana Plants

While the state of Illinois has legalized the possession and use of marijuana by adults, cannabis can only be produced, manufactured, distributed, or sold by those who have obtained the proper licenses. Illinois prohibits the possession or production of the Cannabis Sativa plant, which is the plant that produces marijuana, unless a person is a medical marijuana user or has a professional cannabis license.

The state bears the burden of proving that a person charged with illegal possession of the plant knew that the plant was indeed Cannabis Sativa. Thus, if it can be shown that the person who was in possession of the plant did not know that the plant was Cannabis Sativa, the person cannot be convicted of the crime. Although many legal products, such as hemp, are derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, its unauthorized possession is still unlawful. Therefore, even if a person intended to use a cannabis plant for any reason other than for the cultivation of marijuana, they can still be charged and convicted of the crime.

In general, possession of five or fewer cannabis plants is a civil violation that may result in a fine of up to $200. However, possession of six or more plants is a felony offense, and a conviction may lead to a prison sentence of multiple years. In cases involving large numbers of plants, fines may range up to $100,000, plus the costs related to the investigation and the destruction of the plants in question. People who are charged with this offense may qualify for probation or court supervision.

Contact Our Will County Cannabis Possession Defense Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges based on the possession or distribution of marijuana or any other offenses related to cannabis, contact our firm by calling 708-966-2408 and setting up a complimentary consultation.

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