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~*Kate*~
09-26-2009, 09:12 AM
I'm trying to figure out what kind of punishment a high school kid caught smoking weed at a party would receive. I intended for the character to be from California, but they appear to lose their drivers license immediately, which won't work for the rest of my WIP. I'd like to stay with the west coast if possible though.

Ideal for my WIP would be a state where a kid gets some kind of probation and/or fine, without losing his/her driver's license. (Really helpful would be restrictions on leaving the state, b/c that would really help tie up my last scene, but I know that's wishful thinking.)

NORML has a state by state comparison of over 21 penalties, but doesn't seem to cover minors, and everything else I turn up is on random ambulance chaser websites. I'll keep looking, but does anyone happen to have additional knowledge on this? No need to incriminate yourself unless you just feel the need. ;)

Wayne K
09-26-2009, 09:29 AM
A long, long time ago in a land about 12 miles from here, I was busted for smoking pot in high school. I was suspended and it was never told to the authorities. Their reasoning was that they didn't want me to have a record at such a young age. Today, I would imagine some kind of counseling or drug treatment would be in order. Criminal punishment would be reserved for a repeat offender.

PeterL
09-26-2009, 06:30 PM
I don't know the Cal. sentencing guidelines, but in most places where possession of hemp has not been made a noncriminal violation, the punishment would be probation and a fine, and in most places the judge has considerable leeway in sentencing. I assume that he was caught by the police. If school authorities caught him, there may be other considerations.

Rowan
09-26-2009, 06:31 PM
I'm trying to figure out what kind of punishment a high school kid caught smoking weed at a party would receive. I intended for the character to be from California, but they appear to lose their drivers license immediately, which won't work for the rest of my WIP. I'd like to stay with the west coast if possible though.

Ideal for my WIP would be a state where a kid gets some kind of probation and/or fine, without losing his/her driver's license. (Really helpful would be restrictions on leaving the state, b/c that would really help tie up my last scene, but I know that's wishful thinking.)

NORML has a state by state comparison of over 21 penalties, but doesn't seem to cover minors, and everything else I turn up is on random ambulance chaser websites. I'll keep looking, but does anyone happen to have additional knowledge on this? No need to incriminate yourself unless you just feel the need. ;)

I'm more familiar with federal possession/trafficking laws but for a first-time offender who is caught smoking pot (ie., not trafficking or PWID quanties) I can't imagine state penalties would be that severe. Loss of DL is possible so you should be able to work that in or at least restrictions (up to judge). Hope this helps!! :)

I can't vouch for either but these sites may help:
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Marijuana-Possession.htm

and here's CA laws (would think CA would be one of more lenient states ;) ):
Here's a snippet...

California is among the most progressive states for decriminalizing marijuana for both personal and medicinal use. The fines and jail sentence lengths for non-violent offenders are among the lowest in the nation. That said, the penalties still exist, and if anyone has been charged with a marijuana-related offense, they should seek a marijuana attorney to represent their best interests. California still arrests around 60,000 people yearly for marijuana offenses, according to the Department of Justice. In addition, the DEA estimates that around 1.3 million pounds of marijuana with a street value of up to $13 billion are produced ever year in the state.
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/marijuana-laws-and-penalties/california.htm

RJK
09-26-2009, 07:19 PM
Most states have decriminalized the mere possession of pot for personal use. They determine if it is for personal use by the weight (amount) you are carrying. Over a certain amount, the law assumes you are selling it.
I wasn't aware that the person's driver's license would be taken. The question you need to answer is: Is the license revoked (gone forever)? or suspended (gone temporarily)? Does the offense have to take place in a car for the DL to be taken? It would make sense if the person was driving while under the influence of THC, but it seems strange that, especially in California, a person smoking a weed in his house, would lose his driver's license if caught.

Rowan
09-26-2009, 09:33 PM
Most states have decriminalized the mere possession of pot for personal use...

Kate,
To elaborate on this note: states may have but the fed hasn't. :) As PeterL asked -- who caught him smoking weed at the party -- local PD or did a parent catch him and call the cops? I'm guessing this was his first offense? Just curious.

On an unrelated side note regarding CA -- even though CA has legalized medical marijuana the federal gov't hasn't and the federal statutes override state ones, etc.

Couldn't find this link earlier but this may also help: :)
http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/identify/what_are_the_penalties_for_possession_or_marijuana .html

RJK
09-26-2009, 10:11 PM
I don't believe the Feds (DEA) were going after individuals for mere possession. It was the Marijuana clubs and stores that they closed down and arrested the owners and employees.
I found this online, which makes the point mute:
Attorney general Eric Holder announced Wednesday, 03/18/2009, that federal agents will no longer go after medical marijuana distributors which comply with state law.

PeterL
09-26-2009, 10:30 PM
I don't believe the Feds (DEA) were going after individuals for mere possession. It was the Marijuana clubs and stores that they closed down and arrested the owners and employees.
I found this online, which makes the point mute:
Attorney general Eric Holder announced Wednesday, 03/18/2009, that federal agents will no longer go after medical marijuana distributors which comply with state law.

That's interesting, because the DEA participated in the recent raids in San Diego. I wonder if they were classifying those operations as something else.

Rowan
09-26-2009, 11:33 PM
RJK,
I'm not arguing your point. Speaking as a former federal agent who is still with the agency in question --- while CA and some states have "legalized MJ for medicinal use", marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the CSA and therefore illegal, regardless of what certain states pass as law, etc. While numerous states have recognized medicinal usage of marijuana, no state has legalized trafficking of marijuana. As for the CA raids - yes, the clubs/stores are primary targets but the fact remains that the drug is illegal under the CSA and recreational use isn't covered/protected by this law or Holder's stance. This is a controversial topic (medicinal use of mj) so I say enough said - I'm not going to get into a debate regarding the medical efficacy of MJ use or whether it should be legal, etc. :)

(edit) On a side note and I may be wrong: I don't believe Kate's character is utilizing mj for medicinal purposes but rather recreational. ;)

Cheers,
Rowan

pink lily
09-28-2009, 06:39 PM
Most states have decriminalized the mere possession of pot for personal use.
I wouldn't say "most," since roughly only a dozen out of fifty states have decriminalized personal possession. I'd say "some," but definitely not "most."


While more than a dozen US states have decriminalised possession or personal use of cannabis, it is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Drug_Abuse_Prevention_and_Control_Ac t_of_1970).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana_Decriminalization#United_States

To answer the OP question, check here: http://www.chrisconrad.com/expert.witness/calmjlaws.html


Driving suspension for minors: Any minor (age under 21) convicted of a marijuana, alcohol, or other drug offense faces a 12-month drivers license suspension, regardless of whether the offense was driving-related. The court may allow restricted license privileges if the minor demonstrates a "critical need to drive." Vehicle Code 13202.5 (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html) . (Note: This penalty can be avoided by entering a diversion program).

~*Kate*~
09-28-2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks for all the responses! Yes, the story is that he was busted at a party by the cops, and not for medicinal purposes. ;) He could possible be holding a bag and some paraphernalia as well, depending on what I find on those links you all provided and what I need for my story purposes.

Appreciate the help! :)

RJK
09-28-2009, 07:05 PM
When I say decriminalize - I mean that the level of offense is lower than a misdemeanor and in most cases does not require any jail time. It is still an offense.

Clair Dickson
09-28-2009, 08:24 PM
Yeah... probation. My students tell me you can fail two of your drug-piss tests (testing positive for MJ while on probation for MJ) and still successfully complete probation. I bet the local police or a local probation officer would be a great asset to talk to in regards to this.

Now I'm out in Michigan, but around here, it's usually probation, community service, and often times the requirement that they be working on finishing high school, if not done already, so high numbers of them end up in alternative high school to try to finish.

Rowan
09-28-2009, 09:14 PM
Quote:
While more than a dozen US states have decriminalised possession or personal use of cannabis, it is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Drug_Abuse_Prevention_and_Control_Ac t_of_1970).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijua...#United_States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana_Decriminalization#United_States)


Yeah, that's what I said in my previous post re: CSA and mj still being illegal/schedule I drug,etc. etc. etc. :)