shutterstock_139577978Drug violations in the U.S. are consistently being met with harsh prosecution and punishment. As the Bureau of Justice Statistics have found, there were more than 1.8 million arrests made in 2007 for violations against drug abuse laws. The American Civil Liberties Union also noted that more than half of these arrests involve marijuana. In fact, about 88 percent of drug arrests are usually for the illegal possession of marijuana.

Recent years have seen a controversial debate on the legalization of marijuana. While its use has become less and less taboo in American culture, the law remains stringent against the substance. Only a few select states have decriminalized the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Even fewer have chosen to legalize it completely. In most of the country, state laws still hold harsh penalties against possession of the substance. Even a small amount found in a person’s possession can lead to some damning consequences.

Generally, marijuana possession at first offense is classified as a misdemeanor. It could lead to a maximum $1000 fine and up to 1 year in jail. The penalty will become stricter at second offense, resulting to a maximum $2500 and up to 2 years’ time in jail. Any subsequent offenses are typically considered a felony, which could require a maximum $5000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Certain states also impose specific penalties based on the amount of marijuana found in an individual’s possession. In Texas, for example, carrying more than 4 pounds of marijuana can already be considered a felony. Punishment would then become more severe, especially if the individual has committed previous offenses in the past.

Facing a marijuana possession charge is no easy matter. Regardless of the popular sentiment for the use of marijuana, the law holds true on a different idea.