7 Things You Should Know About California “Hash Laws”

In this post you are going to learn everything there is to know about possession of concentrated cannabis laws in California.

In fact:

With changes in the law it is legal in many circumstanes to possess concentrated cannabis (hash).

Lets get started…..

#1) What Is Concentrated Cannabis?

Concentrated cannabis means the separated resin, whether crude or purified, from the cannabis plant.

Hash

There are a number of ways to make hash, however to produce it legally in California it must be made without butane or other chemical solvents to extract the resin.

Concentrated cannabis is also known as:

  • “hash,”
  • “wax”
  • “hash oil,” or “
  • “hashish”1

Sometimes concentrated cannabis is in the form of a dark brick and other times a thick golden substance such as the image below.

hash oil or concentrated cannbis

#2. Proposition 64 Changed The Law For Possesion Of Concentrated Cannabis

In 2016 California voters passed Proposition 64 which changed the law regarding recreational marijuana which included concentrated cannabis.

its legal sign

Under California’s Proposition 64 which went into effect January 2018 adults can now possess, transport, or obtain 8 grams or less of concentrated cannabis as long as they are 21 years of age or older legally2.

exception list

However, if you possess, transport or obtain more than 8 grams it is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine.

Example Of A Legal Arrest For Concentrated Cannabis

Jeffery is pulled over by California highway patrol for a hit and run auto accident.

During the search police find a jar of “hash” containing 15 grams of concentrated cannibis and Jeffrey is additionally charged with possession of concentrated cannabis.

Additional Exception For Legal Possession Includes:

If you are under 21 it is an infraction to possess concentrated cannabis of any amount.

#3) California State Law Considers “Possession” To Be “Actual” Or “Constuctive.”

There are two (2) kinds of ‘possession’ under California law:

  1. Actual Possession
  2. Constructive Possession

What Is Actual Possession?

This means that you have actual and/or exclusive control over the concentrated cannabis, as in, you actually have it in your hand or on your person3.

man holding hashish

Constructive Possession

This means that you do not have to actually hold or touch the substance, to possess it.

Two or more people may possess something at the same time, which will give rise to constructive possession.

Example Of Constructive Possession

You and your friends have concentrated cannabis at a party that was purchased jointly.

friends smoking hashish

#4. Medical Marijuana Card Holders Are Not Subject To Limits

If the hash, hash oil or “wax” was recommended/prescribed by a licensed physician for medical use than you are not subject to limits on the amount of concentrated cannabis you can possess4: 

there are no limits sign
Important Note:

Under the law, you do not necessarily have to prove that you are, in fact, seriously ill, but just that a licensed physician has legally authorized you to use Medical Marijuana5.

#5) You Must Have “Knowledge” Of The Concentrated Cannabis’s Presence To Be Convicted

To be convicted under Health and Safety code 11357 you must know that the concentrated cannabis or hash is there.

To clarify, the law requires that you knew you possessed the concentrated cannabis as well as its nature or character as concentrated cannabis.

Therefore, knowledge is a critical part of this charge..

defendant knew hash was in the car

The prosecutor is required to prove that you knew of the concentrated cannabis rather than you having to prove you were not aware of its presense6

#6) Being A Primary Caregiver Is A Defense

If you are the primary caregiver of someone authorized to use medical marijuana, then your attorney may be able to argue to the prosecutor that your possession of concentrated cannabis was not illegal.

You must be able to establish the following:

  1. That you are infact the primary caregiver as defined in the cannabis use act.
  2. The person that you care for has a valid medical marijuana card.
medical marijuana card graphic

#7 Penalties For Violating Heath And Safety Code 11357

The penalties and sentencing depend on the specific circumstances giving rise to your case, as well as your criminal history and the severity of the offense.

Potential penalties under this section were updated and changed under proposition 64 as previously mentioned.

They now include the following:

Possession of any amount of marijuana concentrate:

  • Under 21 is an infraction

Possession of more than 28.5 grams or 8 grams of concentrate:

  • Under 18 infraction
  • 18-21, misdemeanor
  • 21 and over, misdemeanor if more than 8 grams of concentrate.

Misdemeanor Penalties include:

  • Up to $500 Fine
  • Up to 6 months in jail.

Important Information

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 

Footnotes

  1. People v. Bergen, CA Ct. App; []
  2. Health & Safety Code 11375(a). []
  3. People v. Barnes (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 552, 556 [67 Cal.Rptr.2d 162]. []
  4. Person with an identification card” means an individual who is a qualified patient who has applied for and received a valid identification card pursuant to this article. Health & Safety Code section 11362.7 (c), then you are legally allowed to possess medical marijuana ((California Health and Safety Code 11362.71 (e) No person or designated primary caregiver in possession of a valid identification card shall be subject to arrest for possession, transportation, delivery, or cultivation of medical marijuana in an amount established pursuant to this article, unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the information contained in the card is false or falsified, the card has been obtained by means of fraud, or the person is otherwise in violation of the provisions of this article. []
  5. Conviction for cultivating marijuana was reversed because the jury was erroneously instructed that for a compassionate use defense, defendant had to prove that he was “seriously ill.” The question of whether the medical use of marijuana was appropriate was a determination that was to be made by a physician and that was not to be second-guessed by jurors. People v. Spark (2004, Cal App 5th Dist) 121 Cal App 4th 259, 16 Cal Rptr 3d 840, []
  6. People v. Thompson (1972) 25 Cal. App 3d 132. []

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