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When the legislature in California approved the decriminalization of marijuana, people charged with a usable amount or possession in Alameda County had their cases dismissed if it was pre-adjudication. If it was post-adjudication, meaning that they pled to a charge or were convicted, they would have some post-conviction relief remedies available to them.

Drug decriminalization in Alameda County has a substantial impact on those who have faced these charges. With the help of an experienced drug attorney, a person could potentially have his or her previous drug charge expunged. If you were charged with possession of a substance that has since been decriminalized, speak with a lawyer about how this could impact your case.

Common Decriminalized Drugs

The main three drugs that are typically decriminalized are alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. While these drugs are decriminalized, there are still certain laws governing their possession.


Alcohol is legal everywhere in the United States. While some states have laws about when alcohol can be sold, it is not illegal to possess or use alcohol. In fact, it is a huge part of American culture.

However, it is illegal to drive under the influence or to be walking down the street with an open container, depending on the jurisdiction. For example, people can walk down the street with an open container in Las Vegas, but they cannot in California.


Marijuana is now widely available in California. It is also legal in Washington, Colorado, and Alaska. These states have decriminalized the possession of marijuana for personal use and have opened up dispensaries which is now a source of revenue for the state. Notwithstanding, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal to possess at the federal level.

Prescription Medication

Medications that we use to treat various diseases or ailments are often legal with a legal prescription. If somebody possess a controlled medication without a prescription or for illegal purposes, he or she could then be charged with illegal possession.

How Does Decriminalization Impact Someone Previously Convicted of a Drug Crime?

For people already convicted of a crime of possessing a now decriminalized drug, there is post-conviction relief available. This would allow them to ask the court to expunge their record and seal their arrest record.

However, for charges for drug possession with intent to distribute, even if the substance is decriminalized, does not mean that a person without a license can sell that drug on mass to people. If somebody was convicted of possession with intent to distribute, that is a different type of offense.

In that situation, a court would look at whether the person was charged federally or in state court. If he or she was charged in state court, the court would look at the ordinary factors in aggravation and factors in mitigation when selecting appropriate sentence for somebody that was distributing a decriminalized drug illegally.

What are Unique Aspects of Marijuana Possession in California?

Although marijuana has been decriminalized in California, in other states possession is still illegal. It is also still illegal federally. Therefore, it is a federal crime to possess marijuana even in a state that has legalized it.

This means that people could potentially face federal prosecution, even they are not going to be prosecuted on a state court level. The reality is, unless they are distributing marijuana, they are unlikely to be charged federally.

Discuss Drug Decriminalization in Alameda County with a Skilled Attorney

While certain substances are legal for personal use in California, such as alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs, it is imperative that you follow the laws regulating them. Drug decriminalization in Alameda County does not mean that people can operate a vehicle while under the influence, sell these substances without a license, or possess them without proper verification.

If you have questions regarding drug decriminalization, speak with an experienced defense attorney today. A well-practiced lawyer could explain your legal rights and options if you or a loved one have been charged with drug possession. Call today.

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