Drug Crime
What to Know About Commercial Drug Offenses in Oregon
May 20, 2017

When it comes to a drug-related offense, the possibilities for punishment may loom large in Oregon. Oregon has a relatively liberal judicial attitude toward marijuana, and a stern view of other drugs. Commercial drug charges—the most severe—include manufacture or delivery of drugs to an underage person or being within 1000 feet of any school, or being in possession of firearms. In these cases, it’s critical to quickly hire a seasoned criminal lawyer who can mount a credible defense on one’s behalf. Here are major points to understand that make a big difference.

Marijuana Possession

For adults in Oregon over 21, it’s legal to smoke, carry and grow marijuana for personal consumption. One may have up to one ounce of cannabis on one’s person without violating the law, but possession of more than 32 ounces is a Class B Misdemeanor Felony. Likewise, growing more than four plants is illegal, as is growing or smoking cannabis in public view. Penalties are stiffer for commercial drug charges; consideration, or sale, is illegal without a commercial license, but it is legal to gift up to one ounce. The result is that while most marijuana users are shielded, those marijuana charges that are levied under the new statutes are serious felonies. Courts can impose large fines and/or lengthy jail time, and the arrest appears on one’s criminal record. An experienced criminal lawyer can navigate this code to find legal grounds for defense.

Harsher Penalties

If an individual is caught with other more serious drugs—cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or MDMA (“ecstasy”)—in quantities that constitute intent to sell, and the individual has excess cash or firearms (or both), the charges for commercial drug offenses are more severe than for simple possession of small amounts. The factors determining the severity of the charges are the amount, or quantity seized, and consideration, or sale, versus gifting. Those charges range from Class C Felony (simple possession of cocaine or methamphetamine) to Class B Felony (simple possession of MDMA) to Class A Felony for all commercial drug offenses.

An experienced Oregon criminal lawyer can always find an avenue of defense, which is why engaging one immediately upon arrest can make all the difference in court.