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Can I be charged with possession with the intent to distribute less than an ounce of marijuana?

One common question asked by many charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts is can I be charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute if I had less than an ounce of marijuana. Many believe that because marijuana possession of less than an ounce was decriminalized with the passage of

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C Section 32L that the possession with the intent to distribute penalties no longer apply.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently addressed this question under Massachusetts drug crime laws. The Court held in a case known as Commonwealth v. Keefner, 461 Mass. 507 (2012), that a possession with an intent to distribute charge can still stand even if less than an ounce and that the passage of the decriminalization of marijuana statute, 32L did not signify that the statute regarding possession with the intent to distribute was also repealed.

  • The recent case of Keefner allows a prosecutor to charge possession with the intent to distribute marijuana even if you had less than an ounce of marijuana.

Defending a charge marijuana drug distribution charge involving less than an ounce of marijuana:

Though the charge can still proceed, a drug distribution charge of less than an ounce may be difficult for the Commonwealth to prove for three reasons.

  • The amount of marijuana possessed is relevant to prove an individuals intent, when only small amounts are present the Commonwealth will have to rely on other factors to establish an intent to distribute.
  • A judge may look less favorably on the charge as some officers charge possession with the intent to distribute in order to circumvent the statute decriminalizing marijuana possession.
  • There may be other legal defenses, such as proving lack of possession, Constitutional defense or challenging the testing of the drugs that can result in a dismissal or not guilty verdict at trial.
  • A case with a very small amount of marijuana charged as an intent to distribute is the type of case many prosecutors would be willing to resolve; this is the type of charge that at DelSignore Law we would expect to be resolved without an admission to criminal conduct.

While you can be charge with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana even if you have a small quantity, it will be a much more difficult case for the Commonwealth. With any illegal drug distribution charge, a charge of possession with the intent does not depend on the quantity, but when the quantity is small the Commonwealth may not survive a motion to dismiss or even a motion for required finding at trial. If you have any questions on the charge of possession with the intent to distribute, feel free to call or Text at 781-686-5924.

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Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire