Yup, you can get life in prison in California for a joint. Such is the insanity of California’s “three strikes” law – a sentencing guideline based on a sports metaphor.
According to the Drug Policy Forum of California, which has presented this handy California voter’s guide, “under current law, offenders with two strikes (i.e. serious or violent felonies) automatically receive a 25-year-to-life sentence for any third felony, including non-serious, non-violent marijuana and drug offenses. Numerous prisoners have received “Three Strikes” sentences for marijuana crimes, such as smoking a joint in prison. Prop. 36 would require that the third strike be serious or violent, thereby excluding drug offenses.”
Other marijuana crimes that can get 2-strikers life in prison: possessing hash, possession with intent to sell (presence of cash and phone), and cultivation of any amount of pot.