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When Does Possession of Marijuana Become Intent to Sell?

Conviction of possession of marijuana or intent to sell charges lead to serious punishment in Arizona. Under state law, “marijuana” refers to any or all parts of the cannabis plant from which the resin has not been extracted. The plant may be growing, dead, or just in the form of unsterilized seeds capable of germination. Police and prosecutors work closely together to ensure as many convictions as possible are delivered on cases of possession or sale of these plants, with felony convictions resulting in jail time, prison, expensive fines and other penalties.

When Marijuana Possession Becomes Intent to Sell

Arizona Revised Statute, ARS 13-3405 states, “A person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana” or “possess marijuana for sale.” But what makes possession of marijuana “intent to sell?” The statute defines possession of marijuana for sale as meeting three standards beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You knowingly possessed marijuana
  • The substance is confirmed as marijuana
  • The possession is for the purpose of sale

Although these three standards must be proven for an intent to sell conviction to hold up in court, the exact definition of “intent to sell” can still seem a little convoluted. “Intent to sell” is not always gauged just according to the amount of marijuana possessed, instead according to clear intent to exchange the plant for anything of value or advantage. Money is one such thing “of value.”

While this intent to sell can be difficult to prove merely according to the above statements, there are additional factors that differentiate possession from intent to sell. Of course, possession of a large amount of marijuana makes assumption that it was not for personal use somewhat transparent. But add to that bulk possession any of the following, and intent to sell becomes clearer:

  • Small baggies commonly used for individual packaging for sale
  • A ledger
  • Large sums of money
  • Phone records or text messaging
  • Scale used to weigh product, such as a scientist’s lab scale

But if these items and facts do not definitively support your intended participation in sale of marijuana, your case can be dismissed. So the goal of defense becomes – at least partially – to disprove this intent to sell, to keep you from suffering harsh penalties under Arizona law.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession and Intent to Sell in Arizona

When you are convicted of intent to sell marijuana in Arizona, you will be sentenced to a mandatory prison term. This applies if the prosecution proves that the statutory threshold of two pounds of marijuana was exceeded. Your criminal history, possession or involvement of weapons as part of the crime and other factors will be considered by the judge toward sentencing.

For conviction involving less than two pounds of marijuana, the classification is as a Class 4 felony. These are less severe than Class 2 or Class 3 Felony charges, with the weight of marijuana possessed at the time of arrest being how severity is determined. A Class 2 Felony can lead to 12.5 years behind prison bars.

Both state and federal laws regulate marijuana possession, sale and distribution. Marijuana is regulated as a Schedule I controlled substance in Arizona, under Arizona Revised Statute ARS 36-2512.

Marijuana possession is a criminal offense with varied penalties applied according to several factors. These penalties can include a fine of up to $150,000, according to Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-801.

First Offense of Marijuana Possession for Personal Use

  • Under two pounds in possession: Class 6 felony with a sentence of four months to two years
  • Between two and four pounds in possession: Class 5 felony with a sentence of six months to 2.5 years
  • Four pounds or more in possession: Class 4 felony with one to four years in prison

First Offense for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

  • Under two pounds in possession for sale: Class 4 felony with sentencing of one to four years
  • Two to four pounds in possession for sale: Class 3 felony with sentence of two to nine years
  • Four pounds or more in possession for sale: Class 2 felony with sentence of three to 10 years

Being caught with drug paraphernalia is also punishable in criminal court. Unlike other states, drug paraphernalia cannot be possessed, sold, manufactured or advertised in Arizona. Paraphernalia includes anything used to grow, sell or use marijuana, such as:

  • Growing kits
  • Scales
  • Testing equipment
  • Separation sifters
  • Pipes or bongs

When convicted of possession, sale, manufacturing or advertisement of drug paraphernalia, sentencing may be for a period of four months to two years. A fine of up to $150,000 may also be applied.

However, Arizona does allow medical marijuana use. Users registered in the confidential statewide registry of medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers are issued individual ID cards. But these patients are not permitted to sell or distribute the marijuana they receive for medical purposes.

Help for Your Charges of Marijuana Possession or Intent to Sell

If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana and/or intent to sell, you should call DM Cantor as soon as possible. You will need a strong defense against the state’s equally strong position of prosecution. Each Phoenix criminal lawyer working on your case will use experience and knowledge of the law to ensure protection of your rights, fair treatment and the best defense against marijuana charges.

For your marijuana possession or intent to sell case, the criminal defense lawyers can help defend you against the possibility of prison time, hefty fines and other consequences. Call DM Cantor now at 602-307-0808 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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