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Health and Safety Code 11361: Selling/Giving Marijuana to Minors Laws in California

H&S 11361: Selling/Giving Marijuana to Minors

Legal Definition:

“(a) A person 18 years of age or over who hires, employs, or uses a minor in unlawfully transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any cannabis, who unlawfully sells, or offers to sell, any cannabis to a minor, or who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give any cannabis to a minor under 14 years of age, or who induces a minor to use cannabis in violation of law shall be punished by imprisonment…

(b) A person 18 years of age or over who furnishes, administers, or gives, or offers to furnish, administer, or give, any cannabis to a minor 14 years of age or older in violation of law shall be punished by imprisonment…”

To secure a conviction under HS 11361, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You engaged in the unlawful act of offering to sell, furnish, administer, or give away marijuana, a controlled substance, to another person.
  2. This offer was made with the specific intent to sell, furnish, administer, or give away the controlled substance.
  3. You were at least 18 years old at the time of making the offer.
  4. Additionally, the recipient of your offer was a minor under the age of 18 at that time.

It is crucial to emphasize that the understanding and application of these elements by experienced, knowledgeable authorities play a critical role in determining legal outcomes.

What does this mean?

Selling, in the context of this instruction, refers to the exchange of marijuana for payment, services, or other valuable considerations. The term “marijuana” encompasses the entire Cannabis sativa L. plant, whether in a growing state or not, including its seeds and resin extracted from any part of the plant. Administration of a substance occurs when it is directly applied to another person’s body through injection or any other means, or when the substance is inhaled, ingested, or otherwise consumed by the other person.

It is important to note that one can be convicted of offering to sell, even without evidence of delivering or possessing any controlled substance. While Proposition 64 has legalized marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, allowing them to purchase, possess, and sell marijuana, this does not extend to minors who are prescribed medical marijuana by a licensed doctor. It is also pertinent to mention that employing a minor to assist in a marijuana distribution unit falls under the purview of this charge. Even if the minor is not compensated for their work, the individual can still be found guilty of this offense.

It is crucial to understand that having a reasonable belief that the minor is of legal age and not a minor does not serve as a defense for this charge, except in cases where there is evidence of “inducing” the minor.


A charge under HS 11361 constitutes a felony offense. For individuals convicted of providing marijuana to a minor 14 years or older, they may face a substantial prison sentence of 3, 4, or 5 years. It is important to note that a minimum of 50% of the sentence must be served in custody. If convicted of this charge for any reason other than giving marijuana to a minor, the potential prison sentence increases to 3, 5, or 7 years. Similarly, a minimum of 50% of the sentence must be served in custody. These heightened penalties are intended for adult offenders involved in selling, inducing a minor to use marijuana, using a minor to sell, or distributing or transporting marijuana. Trust in our experienced expertise and authority to guide you through these legal matters.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a suspension or loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime involving drugs.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

As stated previously, it is crucial to understand that if there is a reasonable belief that the minor was above 18 years of age, one cannot be held accountable under this particular section for inducing the minor. In such cases, minors may provide counterfeit identification or deceive individuals about their age, leading to a reasonable belief that they are of legal age. Often, individuals gather around bars or clubs to consume marijuana, and if a minor manages to gain entry with a fake ID, they can easily deceive others into believing they are adults. Upon spotting them inside the establishment, one would naturally assume they are of legal age, and thus, if one proceeds to induce them into smoking marijuana, they would perceive it as engaging with another adult. In your defense, a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney can establish and demonstrate the underlying reasons why you attempted to induce the minor to smoke marijuana, serving as a defense against the charges.

It is important to acknowledge that sometimes law enforcement officials can employ coercive tactics in their interactions with individuals, particularly when trying to extract confessions regarding knowledge of the minor’s status. Police authorities may even offer leniency in exchange for a confession, leading to a violation. In such cases, it is within the purview of your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney to argue for the exclusion of your confession from the court proceedings, as it was obtained through coercion by the police.

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Facing charges under HS 11361 carries significant legal consequences, including the possibility of a criminal conviction that could lead to years of incarceration in State Prison. With penalties that can extend up to 7 years, the impacts of a conviction go beyond just time served; they can result in the loss of firearm rights, complicate efforts towards expungement or charge reduction, and permanently mark your record with a felony. Beyond the legal repercussions, the effects of such a conviction can ripple through your life, affecting educational goals, career paths, and housing opportunities. Notably, drug convictions pose substantial hurdles in securing professional licenses, impacting your future irrespective of when the offense occurred.

However, facing HS 11361 charges does not leave you powerless. At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our Ontario-based HS 11361 attorney brings a wealth of experience to the table, having successfully defended numerous individuals against drug-related charges. Our proven track record in navigating the complexities of HS 11361 cases positions us as a formidable advocate for your rights and freedoms.

Why Turn to Inland Empire Criminal Defense for HS 11361 Charges?

  • Specialized Expertise: Our battle-tested attorney specializes in drug-related charges, offering an informed and strategic approach to your defense under HS 11361.
  • Proven Defense Strategies: With a history of successful outcomes, we are adept at challenging drug charges, leveraging our legal knowledge to protect your rights effectively.
  • Dedicated Legal Support: We understand the stakes of facing drug charges and are committed to providing robust legal counsel, aiming to mitigate the impacts of a conviction on your life.

Start Building Your Defense with Inland Empire Criminal Defense

The weight of HS 11361 charges demands immediate and strategic legal action. Inland Empire Criminal Defense, located in Ontario and serving the Rancho Cucamonga area, is prepared to offer the experienced and specialized legal representation required to effectively confront these charges.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

Don’t navigate the complexities of HS 11361 charges alone. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to provide the support, guidance, and expert defense necessary to navigate through this challenging period. With our expertise and commitment to your defense, we’re here to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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