Drug cultivation refers to the growing, tending, nurturing or processing of cannabis or marijuana. If you are accused of cultivation in Florida, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges, which could result in a county jail or state prison sentence, as well as fines and other penalties. While some states allow for individuals to grow marijuana plants, in the state of Florida, marijuana cultivation or grow houses has not yet been legalized. A conviction for operating a grow house can result in serious penalties as marijuana is still classified as an illegal Schedule I substance in Florida.
Cultivation vs. Manufacturing
In one sense cultivation and manufacturing are the same thing. They involve producing any type of illegal substance. How those substances are produced is where they differ. Various forms of illegal drugs may be grown (such as marijuana), while others (such as methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy) can be manufactured in a lab.
A marijuana grow house often consists of complex irrigation systems, lighting systems and electrical wiring. A grow house can be any structure or place used to cultivate marijuana, such as a house, greenhouse, trailer or shed. If police or any law enforcement officer suspects that a building or structure is being used as a grow house, they can obtain a search warrant for the property and seize any evidence just based on the smallest observations, including the smell of marijuana, certain types of landscaping equipment and even the presence of large quantities of fertilizer.
An individual charged with operating a marijuana grow house can face severe penalties including prison time and significant fines.
Under Florida law, there are three types of penalties for operating a grow house:
- Landlord: Any landlord that knows about a grow house and allows a person to rent or lease the space can be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.
- Resident: Any person that lives inside a grow house, including the owners, renters or visitors, and has knowledge about the grow house or takes care of the operation can face second-degree felony charges punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- When Children Are Present: Should a child be present inside a grow house, even if the child does not actually reside there, a landlord or any resident that knew about the child’s presence or should have known about the child, can be charged with a first-degree felony carrying consequences of up to 30 years behind bars.
In order to prove that a structure or building is being used as a grow house, police must show there are 25 or more marijuana plants present. If the grow house contains 300 or more plants, the charges can be increased to trafficking marijuana, which is a much more serious offense carrying minimum mandatory sentences.
With so much at stake, it is crucial to consult with a drug crime defense attorney at Kopelousos, Bradley & Garrison, P.A. We are equipped to handle grow house and marijuana cultivation cases throughout Florida in the State and Federal system. Call us at 904.269.1111 for a free consultation. We’re ready to discuss the facts of your particular situation and begin building your defense.