Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”
Millions of voters around the country are busy today making a number of important decisions, the biggest of which is about who will lead our country for the next four years. Though the significance of that question often overshadows other concerns, voters in some states, California chief among them, will also need to consider some important ballot questions that could have an important impact on criminal law for years to come. Let’s take a moment to discuss a few of these California proposals and what they might mean for citizens of the state should they become law.
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”
The Washington State legislature is considering changes to the state’s criminal code that would dramatically alter the manner in which marijuana-related crimes are prosecuted in the state.
Under a bill sponsored by Republican State Senator Ann Rivers, most marijuana-related crimes would be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. Voters in Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana in a statewide referendum in 2012.
Seattle’s city attorney John Schochet said he wants the possibility of jail time for “lower-end violators” eliminated. He likened minor offenses to buying a bunch of beer at Costco and selling it out of the trunk of his car. If he sold enough marijuana in that fashion, he could be subject to a felony trafficking charge.
Attorneys like Schochet and city attorney Pete Holmes want to eliminate criminal penalties for sharing marijuana. As it stands, it is a felony to give any amount of marijuana to a friend, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Schochet and Holmes also want to see criminal penalties lessened and removed for users who make their own “homegrown” weed. Under current law, it is illegal to grow one’s own marijuana in Washington. In other states that have legalized marijuana use, growing a small amount of marijuana for personal use is permitted. In Colorado, for instance, it is legal for individuals who are 21-years-old or older to grow as many as six plants, as long as they are kept in an “enclosed, locked space.” Alaska also allows users to grow up to six plants, while users in Oregon can grow as many as four plants and can legally possess as many as eight ounces of usable marijuana.