Marijuana laws differ from place to place within the US and penalties ranges from a fine amounting to few hundred dollars up to prison sentence of few years across various states. It is a rather complicated procedure keeping a tab on the laws followed in all the states across the county in comparison with the federal laws which is in complete opposition to any form of marijuana use be it medical or non-medical purpose.
A few states like California, Maine, New York, Ohio and Oregon have a very lenient approach towards people with the possession of marijuana. In all the above states the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana will result in a minor fine without any jail term. There are various factors affecting conviction in a drug possession case, this includes the amount of marijuana found when busted, the age of the accused, prior convictions if any, type of property or the scene where the crime was committed.
All these factors involved make the conviction process rather complex. According to New York marijuana laws for example possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is led off with a warning and fine of $100. In the state of California possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is issued a fine of $100 without any conviction. In this case the laws for first time offenders are quiet same but it does not always remains the same as the severity of the crime increases. While according to Nevada marijuana laws possession of less than 1 oz of the substance invites a fine of $600 and also includes a rehab sentence. However, in this case the accused has to be over 21 years of age.
Contrary to these all states seems to have one similarity i.e., imposing harsher punishment for possession of marijuana if it occurs in the premises of an educational institute like a junior high or a high school and if it occurs at a time when a school activity was in progress.
Federal view on simple possession
According to US marijuana laws possession of marijuana without any intent to distribute is punishable with a mandatory fine of $1,000 along with a prison sentence which can range between zero to one year. Unlike state marijuana laws the federal marijuana law does not have any provision for a first time or second time offender. If a person is found possessing more than a relatively small amount of marijuana it will be seen as a case where the accused can be charge with the intent of distribution.
In some cases a first time offender is put into probation only if he or she was never convicted in a federal or state court before, and if he or she has not received probation for the possession of such substance.
State and Federal Prosecution for the Same Crime
Marijuana penalties for federal and state laws are quiet similar and if you violate a state marijuana law you are also likely violating the federal marijuana law. This means in certain cases the state and federal government can both persecute a person for the same crime.
Punishment for possessing and distributing marijuana
If a person is found with the possession of marijuana with an intention to sell, then this amounts to a much more serious crime which draws the severest of punishment from both the state and federal laws. Marijuana penalties are harshest if someone is found selling or manufacturing marijuana within 1000 feet from a school. In such cases the punishment doubles than the actual maximum term of punishment and even the fine amount doubles.