Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijauna

PWID Marijuana in South Carolina

Can you be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana when you didn’t sell drugs to anyone? Yes, you can. And today we’re going to talk about how the state can do this. Hi, my name is Dale Savage, and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, South Carolina. And today we’re going to talk about felony drug distribution laws, and how the State can charge you when you didn’t sell marijuana to anyone. Possession with intent to distribute charges can be challenging because the state can bring these charges based on the amount of weight that you’re in possession of marijuana, or it can be based on any amount of marijuana as long as it’s combined with certain other factors. To bring a case for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the State has to show that one, you’re in possession of marijuana, and had the intent to distribute to another person.

Intent to Distribute

These types of cases typically fall into one of two categories that the state can use to establish the intent to distribute. First, is that you’re in possession of one ounce or more of marijuana. Second, if you are in possession of any amount of marijuana, but there are other factors or evidence combined with that possession that they can use to establish the intent to distribute. Let’s talk about mere possession to begin with. When we’re talking about possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and you’re in possession of one ounce or more and no other factors, the state has to show what the person who was in possession of that marijuana was planning on doing with it. So, how does the State do this? Under our laws it is assumed that if a person possesses one ounce or more of marijuana, that amount is too large for personal use or consumption. And so anything greater than that means that the person’s not only using that marijuana for personal consumption, but also has the intent to sell it to other people.

Possession Based on Weight Only

A good defense attorney knows that if you have a case where your possession is just over the one ounce in white of marijuana, and there’s no other factors such as multiple baggies, weigh scales, large amounts of cash or anything like that, text messages between other people talking about price and delivery, then a good defense attorney knows that it’s a better case for this, and it really should be charged as a misdemeanor possession of marijuana only. So, harder cases where you’re found in possession of marijuana that’s much greater than one ounce, whether it’s several ounces or several hundred ounces. In these types of cases, what you’re going to have to show is proof to a prosecutor or to a jury, that possessing that quantity marijuana was just for personal consumption and not for sale or distribution to another person.

Weigh Scales, Baggies, Money

When we’re talking about the second type of case in these this scenario, and that’s when you have possession of any amount of marijuana, but there’s other evidence that factors into the intent to distribute. And so what are those other factors that typically come up? What we’re talking about here is there may be a confession. It’s often to do with the packaging of the marijuana, if there are several baggies that are all measuring the same weight and you’re found in possession of that. If there’s weigh scales present with you when you’re caught with the marijuana, either text messages, large amounts of cash on your person at the time. Now, oftentimes there is innocent explanations for some of these things, but you’re going to need to show what those innocent explanations are, and show that they’re not related to distributing the drugs to someone else.


So, how do you defend these types of cases? Typically, there is two ways you defend these cases. The first, is demand any type of legal defense challenging how the police came into possession of the drugs in the first place, or how they obtained that. And that’s typically challenging, either the search, unlawful search, or an unlawful seizure under the fourth amendment. The second type of scenario is to meet with your client and to understand what’s going on with them. Many times people are using marijuana, and it’s not for recreational use, but rather it’s for some other medical condition, PTSD, or some sort of mental health issue that they’re trying to deal with. And they self medicate through marijuana, rather than taking a multitude of different pills that really affect them adversely as marijuana doesn’t seem to do that.

Charleston, SC Criminal Defense Attorney

This is important because you need to come up with a plan to show the prosecutor that someone having an amount of marijuana that’s greater than one ounce is only for personal consumption. And if you want to try and do that, you need to demonstrate to that prosecutor or to a jury why you would have that amount greater than an ounce, and what you’re intending to do with it, and how you’re doing it. So, if you’re being charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and would like to talk to me about your case, please give me a call at (843) 530-7813. I hope this video was helpful, and thanks for watching.

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