Many people think that marijuana has become more accepted by law enforcement over the years, but marijuana possession, manufacturing and distribution cases are still common in the Oregon criminal courts. It is illegal in Oregon to manufacture, deliver, or grow marijuana, or to possess it any quantity. Knowingly maintaining or visiting a place where people are using, storing or selling any amount of marijuana is also illegal. If you are charged with a crime related to marijuana, you could be facing jail time, large fines and a criminal record for some offenses.
Knowingly maintaining, visiting or even staying at a place where people are using, storing or selling marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,250 fine. However, if the amount of marijuana is one ounce or less, and it is just kept or used on the premises, this offense is a violation punishable only by a fine.
In addition to fines and jail sentences, your driver’s license could be suspended for delivery, manufacture or possession of any quantity of marijuana. If you used a vehicle (car or boat) to transport or hide any amount of marijuana over an ounce, the vehicle may be taken away. Also, your property can be taken away if you know that it is being used to store, sell or grow more than one ounce of marijuana. It also may be taken away if you bought it from marijuana sales.
Penalties for possession of marijuana in Oregon depend on the amount you are caught with. If you are caught with less than one ounce you face a non-criminal violation and fine ranging anywhere from $500 to $1,000. However, if the possession is within 1000 feet of a school, possession of less than one ounce is a Class C misdemeanor. If you are caught with more than an ounce, you may be charged with a Class B felony and be subject to 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
If you are convicted of possessing more than an ounce of marijuana, and you have not been convicted of a drug offense before, you may ask for a conditional discharge or diversion. This means the judge will place you on probation for up to five years with the understanding that if you obey all the terms and conditions of your probation, the charges will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period. If the charges are dismissed, you may truthfully say that you were never convicted of that charge.
The best way to determine if you may be eligible for conditional release is to consult with an experienced attorney. We can argue to get you into any diversion programs for which you may be eligible. We can also evaluate your legal options and give you some advice on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It makes sense to look at every reasonable opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal record for an Oregon marijuana possession offense.
If you are charged with distribution of marijuana, you face much harsher penalties than for simple possession. Even though marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, not all marijuana deliveries are Class A Felonies. Depending on whether or not you receive money or property in exchange for the marijuana (or if it was considered a gift) and the amount exchanged, you could be charged with anything from a violation to a Class B felony.
Delivery of less than five grams of marijuana for nothing in return is a violation punishable by a fine of $500 up to a maximum of $1000. This is not considered a criminal conviction. Delivery of at least five grams but less than one ounce, for nothing in return, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $6,250 fine.
If you sell even a very small amount of marijuana, it is a serious felony. Delivery of any amount of marijuana for payment or other consideration is a Class B felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If the delivery occurs within 1,000 feet of a school the charge is elevated to a Class A felony.
If you are over 17-years-old and deliver any amount of marijuana to a minor who is at least three years younger than you (whether or not you receive something for it), you have committed a Class A felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $375,000 fine.
It is important to note that if the crime of delivery of marijuana was committed within 1,000 feet of a school, the charge and potential penalty will be elevated. If this is the situation in your case and you are concerned about the elevated charges you are facing, give us a call to discuss how it can affect your case.
Manufacturing any amount of marijuana is a very serious offense. “Manufacturing” means growing even one plant, or packaging, repackaging, labeling or relabeling marijuana. Manufacturing marijuana is a Class A felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $375,000 fine.
MANUFACTURING CHARGES CANNOT BE EXPUNGED.
OREGON MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT
Although marijuana is illegal in Oregon, there are certain narrow exceptions under what is commonly known as the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.
A person who has a registry identification card issued by the Oregon Health Division and that person’s designated caregiver may possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for medicinal purposes. You may get a registry identification card after completing the application process with a licensed physician. If your attending physician has documented in writing that you have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, and that the medical use of marijuana may ease the symptoms or effects of that condition, you can apply for a registry identification card. Possession of that card does not allow you or the caregiver to drive while under the influence of marijuana, to use marijuana in public, or to deliver any amount of marijuana for any consideration.
If you do not have a registry identification card, you may still have a defense to criminal charges if you can prove that the marijuana is for medical use, that you would qualify for a card, and that the amount of marijuana involved was within the limits of the law. This is a very complex law, and you should discuss it carefully with an attorney to determine if it applies in your situation.
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