Marijuana is one of the most commonly sold drugs in Louisiana. Despite the efforts of law enforcement authorities to stop its use, illegal distribution of the product continues. The penalties for cultivation, distribution, possession and use of marijuana vary. Possession charges are less serious than distribution and cultivation charges, both of which bring harsher penalties in the event of conviction. Understanding the penalties imposed on those who cultivate or distribute marijuana can help individuals fight any charges against them.
Are any marijuana charges minor? Yes. Possession charges will usually be minor if authorities believe the confiscated marijuana was intended only for your personal use. However, if authorities believe you intended to distribute or sell the drugs, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute, also known as drug trafficking. Marijuana distribution charges are punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines. Repeated offenses can lead to harsher penalties such as 10 to 60 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. Anyone 18 or older who is convicted of selling marijuana to minors can be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison. Subsequent offenses can lead to 90 years in prison.
Are there ways to counter such charges? Yes. If you were charged with distribution of marijuana, then you have to consider that the only real way to get the charges reduced is by negotiating with prosecutors. An alternative is to fight the charges in court and work for a case dismissal or not guilty verdict. This is possible if you can establish a strong criminal defense that can question the evidence presented by prosecutors.
Fighting the charges can be daunting without assistance. To know more about your rights and options, consider speaking with an experienced legal advocate.
Source: Norml.org, "Louisiana laws & penalties," accessed on Oct. 27, 2014