Cultivation of Marijuana

Florida law provides for harsh penalties for growing or cultivating marijuana (often called the “manufacture of cannabis”). Attorney Ashley Aulls conducts a thorough investigation in each of these cases. He files all viable motions to suppress evidence illegally obtained and motions to dismiss charges with insufficient evidence. Filing and litigating motions is often the best way to fight drug cases, particularly those involving a grow house or the cultivation of cannabis.

Marijuana Cultivation Defense Lawyer in Brooksville, FL

Call a criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. for marijuana cultivation cases in Brooksville, Hernando County, New Port Richey or Dade City, Pasco County, Inverness, Citrus County or Bushnell, Sumter County, FL. Call (352) 593-4115 to discuss the case.

Information on Marijuana Cultivation in Florida

Possession of a Marijuana Grow House

In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed a new laws reducing the number of plants needed to be grown in order for an individual to be charged with trafficking. The new laws also increased the penalties for owning a grow house property and possessing a grow house in the presence of a minor child.

Florida Statute Section 893.1351 makes it a crime to own, lease, rent or possess a place for the cultivation or trafficking in cannabis. The term place also includes any structure, trailer, or other conveyance. The statute provides that the possession of 25 or more cannabis plants constitutes prima facie evidence that the cannabis is intended for sale or distribution.

Under Florida Statute Section 893.1351(1) it is a third degree felony to own, lease, or rent any place with the knowledge that the place will be used for the purpose of trafficking in cannabis, the sale of cannabis or the cultivation of cannabis intended for the sale or distribution of marijuana to another person.

Under Florida Statute Section 893.1351(2) it is a second degree felony to knowingly be in actual or constructive possession of any place with the knowledge that the place will be used for the purpose of trafficking in marijuana, the sale of marijuana or the cultivation of marijuana intended for sale or distribution to another.

Under Florida Statute Section 893.1351(3) it is a first degree felony to be in possession of a grow house when the person knew or should have known that a minor is present or residing in the place.

Punishments for the Cultivation of Marijuana

Florida Statute Section 893.13(1)(a) makes it a crime to grow, cultivate or manufacture marijuana (often called “cannabis” under Florida’s statutory scheme). The cultivation of even one marijuana plant can be charged as a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Elements of Marijuana Cultivation

The elements of the felony crime of cultivation of marijuana include:

  1. the defendant engaged in cultivation;
  2. the cultivation was of marijuana; and
  3. the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the marijuana or cannabis.  

In marijuana cultivation cases, your attorney must carefully investigate the facts of the case to determine whether the law enforcement officers conducted an illegal search or seizure of evidence. Many of these cases involve a “knock and talk” in which the officers knock on the door of a house and attempt to gain content to search the house. In those cases, it is often argue that the content was not freely and voluntarily obtained.

In other cases, the law enforcement officers seek and obtain a search warrant through false or misleading information. Evidence seized with a search warrant can also be suppressed for different reasons especially when the officers make false statements to get the warrant, wait too long to execute the warrant, or exceed the scope of the warrant.

The Florida Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Adam H. Putnam is the Commissioner of Florida’s Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program . The program is a partnership coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement (OALE). The 2013 Annual Report was submitted by the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement in March of 2014.

The report shows that for 2013, OALE received total program funding of $535,490.41. In Hernando County, the 2013 statistics showed that in Hernando County, law enforcement officers found 9 indoor sites, seized 377 cannabis plants, made 11 arests, and recovered one firearm. Law enforcement officers in Hernando County did not report finding any outdoor grow operations.

Florida’s climate provides an ideal place to cultivate cannabis plants. The Domestic Marijuana Eradication (DME) Program coordinates law enforcement officers throughout the Brooksville Police Department, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and federal authorities such as the DEA.

The federal counterpart of the Florida’s DME Program program is the US DEA Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP). These programs receive tax payer funds to find grow houses, eradicate marijuana plants, and arrest cultivators. The program focuses on outdoor cultivation of marijuana using aerial detection programs.

As a result, cultivators moved the operations into indoor grow houses. OALE sponsors an Indoor Cannabis Investigations Schools and a joint Outdoor Cannabis Investigations/Aerial Detection School for law enforcement officers.

Find a Marijuana Cultivation Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for cultivation of marijuana then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Brooksville, Hernando County, FL. We represent clients throughout Hernando County, as well as the surrounding areas of Inverness in Citrus County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, and Bushnell in Sumter County, FL.