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What are the penalties for marijuana drug use?

Even though marijuana is legalized in some parts of the United States, it is not legal to use or distribute it in Louisiana. Here are several possible penalties you could face depending on your case. This information is not meant to be legal advice, but it should help you understand the possibilities of your case.

In Louisiana, drug offenses for having marijuana in your possession may include mandatory minimum sentencing. That means that the judge has to give you the sentence, and he or she has little leeway. For example, if you have 60 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana in your possession and are found guilty, the mandatory amount of time you must be incarcerated is five years. The crime is considered to be a felony. You could also face up to 30 years in prison. You could also face fines up to $100,000 for possessing marijuana in that amount.

If you have less than 60 pounds of marijuana and are found guilty, there is no mandatory minimum sentence. That means that the incarceration suggestion of six months to 20 years (depending on the number of offenses you have) may not be required. The penalty is not classified as a felony, and your fine could be anywhere from $500 to $5,000.

If instead you have been charged for the cultivation or distribution of marijuana and found guilty, there is always a minimum mandatory sentence. That means that at the very least, you'll have a minimum of five years in jail for your first offense. You face at least 10 years in prison for a second offense or any additional offenses. If you're caught selling to a minor, you could face between 45 and 90 years in prison for each count against you. These sentences can also be used if it's believed that you intended to distribute the drugs.

Source: Norml.org, "Louisiana Laws & Penalties," July 28, 2014

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