A couple from Minnesota was recently convicted on federal possession with intent to distribute charges after they were accused of hauling more than 1,000 pounds of California cannabis in their RV and were on their way home when they were stopped in Montana. They face between 5 and 40 years in prison for the charges, plus a $5 million fine and up to four years of supervised release. It’s not clear exactly how officers were tipped off to the pair, though Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers understand Montana authorities were notified via the Minnesota drug task force before they were stopped leaving a casino. Defendant reportedly told authorities he was paid $20,000.
Transport of marijuana across state lines has always been a federal crime, and the fact the drug can now be obtained legally by adults in states like California has not changed that. Even traveling from a state like Washington to California – where the drug is legal for recreational purposes in both states – is technically a crime in the eyes of federal law. It may even be considered trafficking, and you could face five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute as little as 50 grams.
Practically speaking, if you transport cannabis across state lines from one state to another where both have legalized cannabis for recreation, you may not incur any serious penalty. But if this is something you are thinking about or planning, take no action before first speaking with a Los Angeles marijuana attorney because technically, to do so IS a crime.
Per Section 812 of Title 21 of the U.S. Code, there is no legal distinction between states where marijuana is legal for recreation, legal for medicine or not legal at all. The same is applicable if you are thinking about traveling into Canada, where the drug is now legal. Because cannabis is not legal under U.S. federal law and borders are maintained by the federal government, you fall within federal jurisdiction, even if you haven’t actually crossed the border. Within the gambit of U.S. Customs, an entirely separate set of rules are applicable. There have been cases where producer-processors have attempted to exchange these products with each other across borders where the drug is legal, but because federal authorities were involved, everything is seized.
Federal Penalties for Marijuana Trafficking Across State Lines
If you are arrested in California for crossing the border with drugs, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately, preferably one with specific experience in defending those charged with marijuana-related crimes.
Conviction on these charges can result in serious penalties.
If you possess 1 kilogram or less of hash oil, 10 kilograms or less of hashish, 1 to 49 cannabis plants or less than 50 kilograms of cannabis flower, you could face up to five years in prison for a first offense.
Furthermore, even some states where the drug is legal have begun to impose penalties for taking the drug across state lines. For instance in Oregon, HB 4014 explicitly criminalizes importing marijuana from another state, as well as export. Import/ export of up to 1 ounce of the drug is punishable by a $260 fine, more than an ounce is considered a Class A misdemeanor and more than 16 ounces is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Minnesota couple pleads guilty to hauling nearly 1,000 pounds of marijuana from California, Nov. 19, 2018, BringMeTheNews.com
More Blog Entries:
Catching a Plane? Be Wary With Weed, California Marijuana Attorneys Advise, Nov. 6, 2018, California Marijuana Attorney Blog