Marijuana is a drug that is treated very differently from one jurisdiction to another. In one place a marijuana conviction may be an offense comparable to a traffic infraction. In another place, possession may be a major criminal offense. If a person is caught and convicted for a marijuana crime, there are several possible consequences, including incarceration, fines, and community service. Which of these a person will be subject to depends on several factors, such as the charges brought against him, the amount of marijuana involved in the crime, and his prior criminal record.
It is important to understand that the amount of drugs a person is caught with is a major determining factor in the consequences of a marijuana conviction. In many jurisdictions, there is a prescribed amount that when found may be treated as a misdemeanor. Amounts that exceed that limit generally cause the charges to increase to felonies.
The consequences of a marijuana conviction will also depend on the crime a person is charged with. Even in areas where marijuana is legal or decriminalized, there are some actions regarding the drug that can lead to serious charges, such as transporting the drug across state borders. Generally, personal possession is treated in the most lenient manner. In jurisdictions where marijuana has been decriminalized, such a charge could result in a warning, a fine, or community service. In jurisdictions where marijuana is still treated harshly, such a charge could result in incarceration.
If the marijuana conviction is for distribution, the consequences are likely to be more severe. Courts normally judge the act of soliciting drugs more harshly. In these instances, a person may be ordered to pay fines, which are likely to be higher than those ordered for a possession charge. If a person is caught with an amount that qualifies as a misdemeanor, he may be ordered to serve a short term of incarceration or he may be given probation. If a person is caught with a large amount and charged with distribution, he is likely to go to prison.
Another thing that will affect the consequences is whether or not a person has a prior conviction. If the person has a prior conviction for another marijuana possession charge, he may be ordered to enroll in a substance abuse program. If the prior conviction is for a distribution charge or another crime, the person may be sent to prison.