In Iowa, a person who possesses up to 50 kilos of marijuana with the intent to deliver it to another can be charged with felony possession under Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d). Fifty kilos of marijuana tip the scales at 110 pounds, but you don’t need to be holding Black Tuna Gang quantities to risk a prison sentence. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, possession of a few quarter ounce bags or less can lead the state to charge a class D felony.
However, if the evidence at trial demonstrates the person possessed one-half ounce or less (< 14.17 grams) of marijuana, which was not offered for sale, then the person may only be guilty of an accommodation under section 124.410. A person convicted of accommodation can avoid a felony and be sentenced to either a serious or aggravated misdemeanor under section 124.401(5) depending on whether there are any prior convictions for simple marijuana possession or drug tax stamps in Iowa.
How do the drug defense attorneys at GRL develop a viable accommodation defense for trial, especially in situations where the aggregate total of marijuana exceeds one-half ounce?
Let’s say a person is charged with felony possession of three, one-quarter ounce bags, which total more than one-half ounce of marijuana. We might choose to defend at trial on the basis that the marijuana should be segregated into quantities reflecting personal and shared use.
The legislature has made it abundantly clear that simple possession under section 124.401(5) and accommodation under 124.410 are both lesser included offenses of possession with intent to deliver marijuana under 124.401(1)(d). A theory of defense that divides marijuana into personal and shared use quantities might lead the jury to conclude that: (1) a person possessed with the intent to deliver one-half ounce, which was not offered for sale (the accommodation defense works only when marijuana is intended to be shared, not sold); and (2) the remainder was for personal use and not for delivery. Under that scenario, the person avoids the lifetime consequences of a felony.
If you or someone you care about is charged with felony possession of personal use quantities of marijuana, then you should contact the drug defense attorneys at GRL to discuss the applicability of the accommodation defense to the specific facts of the case.
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