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The California health and safety code prohibits possessing specific "controlled substances"
without a valid prescription. A controlled substance includes illegal drugs and narcotics,
as well as certain prescribed drugs without a valid prescription. Common illegal drugs or narcotics
include: opiates and opiate derivatives, cocaine (and cocaine base), heroin, peyote, gamma-hydroxybutyric
acid (GHB), and certain hallucinogenic substances. Examples of controlled substances that are frequently
prescribed and frequently abused include codeine and hydrocodone ("Vicodin"). Possession is also defined
in a few different ways including actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession. Actual
possession means that an individual has direct and immediate physical control over the substance. Constructive
possession means that the substance was not physically on the individual but was found in a location where the
individual exercised control. This control may be direct or through another person/persons. Joint possession
means that an individual and at least one other person share either actual or constructive possession.
Possession of a controlled substance is often charged as a misdemeanor and can result in up to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. However there may be more severe penalties if there is a prior conviction of a serious felony.
The California Health & Safety Code prohibits the illegal sale or distribution of narcotics. Possessing or purchasing
certain controlled substances or other narcotic drugs with the intent to sell them would be a violation of this law.
Possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell is a felony and is punishable by probation and up to a year in county jail, or two to four years in county jail, and/or a fine up to $20,000.
The California Health & Safety Code prohibits the sale/transportation of controlled substances which includes
transporting or moving the controlled substance(s) from one place to another, regardless of how insignificant the
distance of the move, importing the controlled substance into California, selling, furnishing or supplying by any
means (sale or otherwise), administering, and giving away.
Selling and/or transporting a controlled substance is a felony and is punishable by probation and up to a year in county jail, or three to five years in county jail, and/or a fine up to $20,000. If an individual is convicted of transporting a controlled substance across more than two county lines, the sentence may increase to three to nine years in jail and/or the same fine of $20,000.
The California Health & Safety Code prohibits illegally manufacturing drugs, narcotics or controlled substances,
engaging in or even offering to engage in any activity that lends itself to the process of manufacturing illegal
substances. This means that an individual may be liable for this offense if they knowingly participate in any of
the initial or intermediate steps that are involved in processing a drug.
Manufacturing controlled substances is a felony and is punishable by three to seven years in county jail and a fine up to $50,000. Even offering to manufacture drugs is a felony and is punishable by a sentence of three to five years in jail. An additional consecutive sentence of five years may be added on if children reside in or are present in the location where the drugs are being manufactured.
The California Health & Safety Code prohibits individuals from willfully using a controlled substance or narcotic drug and/or being under the influence of a controlled substance or narcotic drug. Using a controlled substance or narcotic drug means that the "use" must be current and immediate prior to being arrested. Being under the influence of a drug means that you are under the influence in any detectable amount and need to even be impaired or displaying any act of misconduct.
Marijuana possession, sale, and distribution is regulated by both state and federal law. In California there are some exceptions to laws regarding possession and use of medical marijuana. Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense (when medical marijuana laws are not applicable). Penalties for possession of marijuana are dependent on the amount. Possessing less than 28.5 grams is an infraction and is punishable by a fine up to $100. Possessing more than 28.5 grams may result in a fine up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail.