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How Penalties for Marijuana Possession Differ Depending on Amount

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While the legalities surrounding marijuana are changing around the country, the rate of possession in Michigan is going up. Having a valid prescription and medical marijuana card will authorize you for marijuana possession.

It is important to know what will happen if you get caught in possession of marijuana. There are many different types of situations. You need to know what the consequences would be if you were to get caught.

Less Serious Charges for Marijuana Possession

In the state of Michigan, marijuana possession is the least serious criminal charge, however, it still carries a misdemeanor offense. You could get a sentence of up to 1-year in jail and a fine of $2,000. Possession of any amount of marijuana ranging from a piece of a leaf or even one seed is enough for an arrest and charge.

If it happens to be the first offense, then there may be the option of having the case conditionally discharged. This means that you are released to probation without having a trial. Once you complete the probation, charges will be dropped. However, if you break the terms of probation, you will be taken back to court and could face the original sentence.

A charge and sentencing are dependent on how much there was in your possession at the moment of arrest. If for any reason it is though that there was enough to sell, there could be more severe consequences that you could be facing. A possession charge occurs when there is only enough for personal use.

There differents laws between local cities and municipalities in decriminalizing possession of small amounts, so you need to be aware of what your local ordinances are. Plus, it is still considered a crime under Michigan state law which could inevitably involve a charge and prosecution.

More Serious Charges for Marijuana Possession

If at any point you have been caught with higher amounts of marijuana, you could be charged with manufacturing, delivering or intent to deliver marijuana. The penalties for this are significantly stricter that the lesser possession charge. Any amount of marijuana could produce a charge with intent to distribute. There is a  higher which could be more serious if the quantities of this substance are larger.

The following is a listing of the amounts and penalties for each:

  1. An amount of fewer than five kilos or less than 20 plants has a penalty of up to four years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
  2. An amount more than five kilos and less than 45 or more than 20 plants but less than 200 carry a penalty of up to seven years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
  3. More than 45 kilos and more than 200 plants carry the penalty of 15 years in prison and $10 million in fines.

The DEA will take over a case, especially if there involves the use of weapons, or the marijuana is moved across state lines.

Other Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The above penalties are obvious when charged with possession. There are some not-so-obvious penalties. These include: not being able to get particular jobs, having your driver’s license suspended which will have an effect on your job or in finding a job, having trouble finding a place to live, and being monitored while on probation which would also include unplanned alcohol and drug tests. These are just some of the things you can expect to happen along with the jail sentences and fines.

Decriminalization and Reform of Marijuana Laws

Decriminalization and reform of marijuana laws in Michigan have become a substantial area of discussion recently. However, the court system and police want to keep it a crime, so enforcement of the laws are strict. Since they are so severe, it is important to speak with a qualified attorney regarding these matters when caught with marijuana possession, especially with distribution or intent to distribute because the penalties can be severe.

Marijuana possession in Michigan is only permitted where you hold a valid medical marijuana card and prescription care. A 2-year felony charge has been established by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act if a registered patient 0r caregiver sells marijuana to someone who isn’t authorized to use it for medical reasons. They would have their registry id card rescinded and would receive the 2-year felony charge along with the criminal penalties for selling and distributing marijuana.

Charged With Marijuana Possession

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana your best course of action is to contact a qualified attorney .

You will want someone who will help you investigate your case to get the best outcome from this situation. Sometimes you need someone on your side who can help you muddle through the mess. No matter what the case, get someone who knows what to do on your side.

Contacting someone at this crucial time in your life ensures you receive proper legal representation.

About Us

Gary M. Wilson began trying cases in 1988 in the Office of the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney in Detroit, Michigan. In 1992 he entered private trial practice as a criminal defense lawyer. Licensed to practice in Michigan and Massachusetts, he has also been admitted to practice before the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan.


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  • 313-246-8885
  • Wilson Law
    21002 Mack Avenue
    Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
    Phone: 313-246-8885

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Wilson Law - Detroit DUI Lawyer Wilson Law
21002 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
FREE CONSULTATION: 313-246-8885