There are many states who have legalized some form of marijuana, whether that be recreational use or medical use, but South Caroline is not one of those states. It is still illegal to possess or use marijuana. That does not stop people in the state from using marijuana though. Since it is illegal to possess marijuana in the state, people who use it must obtain it illegally as well.
There are potential penalties that people may face if they are convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana used for recreational purposes. However, the potential penalties are much more severe for those caught selling marijuana. This is known as drug trafficking and the potential penalties people may face depend on different factors such as the amount they have in their possession when they are caught.
Potential penalties for marijuana trafficking
People need to possess significant amounts of marijuana to be charged with trafficking though. If people possess between 10 and 100 pounds of marijuana they could be sentenced to jail for a minimum of one year and up to 10 years. They could also be fined $10,000 for a first offense. The penalties increase to a prison sentence between 5 and 20 years and a fine of $15,000 for a second offense. For a third offense the jail sentence is 25 years and a fine of $25,000.
If people possess between 100 pounds and 2,000 pounds or between 100 plants and 1,000 plants, they could be sentenced to a mandatory 25 years in jail and be fined $25,000.
Possessing between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds or between 1,000 and 10,000 plants, they could result in a mandatory 25 year jail sentence and a fine of $50,000.
If they possess more than 10,000 pounds or have more than 10,000 plants the jail sentence is a minimum of 25 years, but could be as high as 30 years. They could also be fined $200,000.
The penalties for trafficking marijuana in South Carolina can be severe, however, people only receive these punishments if they are in fact convicted of the crime. Being charged with drug trafficking does not mean that people will be convicted. There may be defenses available to people charge with these crimes. The defenses often start with whether the police lawfully searched the property and properly seized the marijuana. If they violated people’s rights, the evidence could be suppressed and convictions become unlikely. Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and could help protect one’s rights.