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Details on State Marijuana Laws

Drug laws are among the most complex criminal laws on the books. Often certain offenses are given "class" designations into which any number of specific drug offenses are grouped, and sentences are prescribed according to mandated ranges (called "sentencing guidelines"). Drug sentencing guidelines set absolute minimum and maximum sentences for specific crimes and take much of the discretion for setting sentences away from judges.

One recent trend in drug legislation is the growing incorporation of "special enhancements" directed at selling drugs like marijuana to or from minors. Several states have recently amended these particular laws by incorporating mandatory sentencing to adults selling to minors. For example, California drug laws specifically state that enhancements attach when the seller is over 18 and the buyer is a minor at least 4 years younger than the seller.

In most state laws in the Drug Laws tables, reference to the code sections gives a picture of the potential punishments for the violation of a specific crime. Since the class schedules among illegal drugs overlap, and because the penalties are often extremely difficult to summarize, reference is often made only to the class designation. Reference to the individual state code listed should provide easy access to more detailed information.

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