It is a felony and carries 2-4 years in prison.
First time offenders are often times eligible for alternative sentences and potentially diverted sentences. A diverted sentence (sometimes called deferred judgment, probation before judgment, or diversion) is a program usually reserved for select first offenders that permits the individual to complete a probationary period and avoid a criminal conviction. Your son's friend could potentially seek this treatment as it is discretionary with the court and prosecutor.
Your son's friend needs a lawyer. An attorney will investigate the state's case, interview the witnesses, question the police officers, examine the evidence (including any scientific reports, police reports, search warrants, etc), research the applicable law (including any potential suppression issues and sentencing alternatives), and discuss the matter with the state's attorney. After this work is completed he/she will advise your son's friend on his/her best course of action. It is a complicated process with a great deal at stake, so obtaining a lawyer is very important.
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One of the other experts pointed something out to me. Your son's friend was actually charged with possession with intent to sell. This is covered in a more general category...
Possession of marijuana for sale is covered by California Health and Safety Code section 11359, which reads:11359. Every person who possesses for sale any marijuana, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.As an otherwise unspecified felony, the punishment is as prescribed in Penal Code section 18, which reads as follows:18. Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a felony, or to be punishable by imprisonment in a state prison, is punishable by imprisonment in any of the state prisons for 16 months, or two orthree years; provided, however, every offense which is prescribed by any law of the state to be a felony punishable by imprisonment in any of the state prisons or by a fine, but without an alternate sentence to the county jail, may be punishable by imprisonment in the countyjail not exceeding one year or by a fine, or by both. The NORML page reference to 2-4 years is for an actual sale of marijuana (W&I section 11360).
Sorry for the misread... also thanks to fellow expert RunTam38 for helping out.
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