How Is Marijuana Possession Defined In Kansas?
There is no statutory definition of marijuana possession for personal use under Kansas state law. Generally for first time marijuana charges, the quantity of the drug is going to equate to intent to distribute. The more marijuana someone has and if police can prove there was intent to distribute that amount, then they can charge the individual with intent to distribute and it is not what would be called marijuana for personal use or as a first time possession.
For example, someone can have even as little as three grams of marijuana, and if police can prove there was intent to distribute the drugs, then they can charge the individual with a level four intent to distribute.
Therefore in Kansas it is based on the quantity of marijuana found, but there is no threshold on the amount someone can have on his or her person. The general rule of thumb is anything less than twenty-five grams, so long as there is no other evidence that there was intent to distribute the drug, will be considered a charge of simple marijuana possession.
How Do Police Determine Whether Intent To Distribute Charges Should Be Applicable Or Not?
Part of making a marijuana possession charge go from just a simple possession to a felony possession on intent to distribute is going to deal with the quantity of the drug found. For example, if law enforcement discovers three or four pounds of marijuana, they are more than likely going to charge the individual with intent to distribute.
There are, of course, other things police will be looking for on intent to distribute cases such as they will have established “buys” with the individual, such as a controlled buy from an informant to prove the sale of drugs took place. They can also go off of admissions such as if someone has said, “Hey, I was selling marijuana”. Additionally if someone is found to have the instrumentalities of distribution, such as baggies, marijuana divided into small quantities, large amounts of cash or anything that tends to prove the marijuana was being used for sale or distributing; this will all be used to prove a case against the individual.
What Are The Potential Penalties For Marijuana Possession And Intent To Distribute Charges?
Penalties for simple marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute recently changed in Kansas. Currently, a first time possession charge is considered a Class B misdemeanor and the punishment range is zero to six months in jail where it was zero to one year in jail.
Many of the municipalities, however, have not yet caught up with changes, including Overland Park. Here, if an individual is caught for marijuana possession, he or she can still face one year in jail on a first time only possession charge and conviction.
In addition to the reduction of penalties for a first time possession charge, a second time possession charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor, whereas it used to be considered a level five felony charge.
When it comes to intent to distribute, the sentences get very serious, very quick. For example, if someone is charged with felony intent to distribute, there are several different levels and it is largely going to be based on the quantity of the drugs found. The top level is a Level 1 felony, where the standard amount is over 30 kilograms.
The amount of marijuana for a Level 2 felony drops dramatically where someone only has to have 450 grams (or one pound) of the drug in order to be charged. Large amounts of marijuana are common in Kansas, especially with Colorado next door. People will across the border, purchase a pound or two of marijuana, and bring it back over into Kansas.
Lastly, a Level 3 felony is when there is 25 grams to 450 grams of marijuana found, or just under an ounce to a pound.
If an individual is in possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana and law enforcement still wants to pursue distribution, they can still make a charge as a level four felony but that would be very rare. Most times when the quantities are that low they do not make a charge of intent to distribute. However, as with any crime charged in Kansas, it is going to depend on the severity of the level of crime the individual is charged with and whether or not the person has a past criminal history.
For example, let’s us someone is charged with a level three felony and had less than a pound of marijuana but more than 25 grams or slightly less than an ounce to a pound, which is common for people who sell small amounts of marijuana. If he has no criminal history he is looking at forty six to fifty one month’s presumptive prison time. If he had more than a pound and no criminal history, he would be looking at ninety two to one hundred and three months in prison. For anyone with a criminal history, things get really serious. Taking the same examples, for an individual who has prior felonies on his record and is caught with a little bit more than an ounce of marijuana, he could be looking at anywhere up to eighty-three months in prison.
On the Level Two felony, with more than a pound of marijuana, he could be looking at one-hundred and forty-four months in prison. Therefore, the punishments for marijuana can really put some people in very serious trouble.
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