Published in Criminal Law on October 2, 2015.
While states continue to move toward legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use Indiana has not yet taken either of these steps. However as of July 1, 2014 the penalties for state marijuana offenses were lowered.
Indiana Code 35-48-4-10 and Indiana Code 35-48-4-11 are the statutes that govern the criminal act of dealing and /or possessing marijuana.
Possession or Cultivation of Marijuana
- Simply possessing marijuana is not classified as a Class B Misdemeanor. That sentence caries up to 180 days in jail.
- If someone has a prior conviction for possession of marijuana, the charge can be raised to a Class A Misdemeanor. This carries up to one year in jail.
- If a person has a prior conviction for possession of marijuana and is alleged to possess over 30 grams of Marijuana or 2 grams of hashish, salvia or a synthetic drug, the charge can be enhanced to a Level 6 Felony which carries up to 2.5 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections.
- A person who either manufactures, delivers marijuana, finances the manufacturing or delivery of the marijuana, hash oil hashish, salvia or synthetic drugs or possess marijuana with the intent to the same, is alleged to commit a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail.
- If someone has a prior drug conviction, OR if the amount is over 30 grams but less than 10 pounds then they can be charged as a Level 6 Felony.
- If someone has a prior drug dealing conviction and has between 30 grams and 10 pounds of Marijuana (or between 2 and 300 grams of hashish), has over 10 pounds of Marijuana or over 300 grams of Hashish they can be charged with a level 5 Felony.
If this if your first offense for possession of marijuana a judge may allow you to enter a conditional discharge. These are typically helpful when someone has a prior arrest or conviction for an offense other than possession of marijuana. If it is truly your first offense, it is likely that a diversion agreement can be worked out with a prosecutor, like many other misdemeanor charges. Our legislature has given similar authority to judges on first possession of marijuana offenses, even if the prosecutor does not agree. When someone enters a conditional discharge they are actually pleading guilty but the sentencing is taken under advisement. If the individual fulfills whatever terms the judge wants, the case will be dismissed. If they do not, they will be sentenced as the judge sees fit within the limits of the law.
So what can the state consider when weighing marijuana? If you are growing or cultivating marijuana, which you shouldn’t be, be aware that in Indiana the state can use the entire plant for their weight.
While these steps fall short of the wishes of the majority of Americans, these are the laws we are forced to abide by. It is important to have an attorney on your side who understands the current state of the law and is willing to fight to protect your future, whether it is for drug possession or drug dealing.