I was facing manufacturing/cultivation charges on a substantial number of plants that could have went federal. With the help of Jim Dixon I plead out to a gross misdemeanor and avoided a felony charge. This was completely UNEXPECTED considering the circumstances around my case, but Mr. Dixon was able to save me from my second felony which was crucial to my future success.
As posted on AVVO by Davis
Over 50 years of combined legal experience
Restrictions on the legal use of marijuana
Washington allows recreational marijuana use. But legalization has provided a false sense of security to many, as there are a labyrinth of rules and regulations regarding how you can use the marijuana, where you can use it, and how much you can possess at one time. Further confusing the situation are different rules depending upon whether it is medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor or recreational use marijuana.
Unlawful possession of marijuana
Possession by an adult of more than one gram but less than 40 grams is a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than 40 grams is a felony, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The first line of defense is to challenge the constitutionality of the police officer’s actions. If the officer did not have a legal basis to stop and search you, the marijuana cannot be introduced into evidence and the case must be dismissed.
Second, in order to convict, the prosecutor must prove “actual possession” or “constructive possession” of the marijuana. For example, the police may find marijuana in your pocket (actual possession) or under the driver’s seat in a car you are in (constructive possession). Because there are a number of ways to attack the government’s arguments for constructive possession, you’ll want to consult with an experienced attorney. We are known for our expertise in marijuana cases. We have decades of experience in arguing and winning suppression hearings and jury trials.
Distribution or possession with intent to distribute
Possession with intent to distribute is similar to simple possession, but the State must prove the additional element that the defendant intended to sell or distribute the marijuana to another person. Prosecutors may try to infer evidence of drug transactions from the quantity of marijuana and/or the presence of scales or packaging material.
Distribution and Intent to Distribute are Class C Felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The government is not required to prove a particular intent to obtain a conviction for cultivation. A single plant, grown for the defendant’s own recreational use, is sufficient for a conviction. The primary defense for this charge is a challenge to the legality of the search. In a recent case, we presented testimony from an expert chemist who testified that it was physically impossible for the officers to have smelled marijuana from the location they claimed. The trial judge agreed with us, found the search warrant should not have been issued, suppressed the marijuana, and dismissed the case.
Cultivation is a Class C Felony and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Possession of more than one gram of marijuana is legal if one possesses a valid medical marijuana authorization. Washington State has strict rules about how much marijuana may be possessed and/or grown for medical purposes. If questioned by police about marijuana possession, a medical marijuana patient should provide their medical authorization and proper identification. If one is charged with a marijuana offense, the medical defense can be raised at trial.
James Dixon has represented individuals on marijuana cases long before Washington State’s foray into legalization. He remains current on the body of case law in this ever-changing field. Mr. Dixon is a criminal defense attorney. He is not a business attorney and does not help incorporate or establish marijuana businesses. There are other excellent attorneys who can assist with those transactions. Instead, Mr. Dixon’s practice focuses upon protecting marijuana users and growers from wrongful government charges.