Chicago Marijuana Cultivation Lawyer
Marijuana Cultivation Charges in Illinois
Marijuana legalization has made it possible for it to be grown legally, but it is still heavily regulated with strict laws. Even if you thought you were growing legally, police and a prosecutor may disagree. Legalization does not allow for home cultivation like in some other states, so you must be a medical cannabis patient to grow your own. Licensing for commercial marijuana growing is permitted only by the state, and you must also follow all local and county laws. If you are found guilty of illegal marijuana cultivation, you could face serious penalties, depending on how many plants are found in your possession.
Keep in mind thought that the word "plants" can include something as tiny as a budding seed, so the number of plants will be determined arbitrarily, as in one prosecutor may not count a budding seedling, while another would. Grow houses with multiple plants can lead to extremely serious felony charges. If children were in the home or in the area, the charges filed against the accused could be even more severe.
Marijuana Grow Houses
Marijuana grow houses may exist in areas near residential homes or commercial buildings. These grow houses contain many components to simulate the natural habitat of the marijuana plant so that it can flourish indoors. This includes installing irrigation systems, lighting systems, and sometimes even electrical wiring to ensure all aspects are handled. Growhouses can range from outdoor gardening patches to small greenhouses constructed in real estate.
When law enforcement enters a suspected grow house, they may discover evidence such as the smell or odor of marijuana, faulty electrical wiring, or mass quantities of certain types of fertilizer. However, all that is needed for a warrant is a suspicion that the structure may be harboring an illicit operation.
Once inside, an officer can seize anything related to cultivation and other items related to the possession or distribution of drugs that may be found within the property. Ultimately, if you own or occupy a home or building in Chicago that is being used to cultivate cannabis, you could become subject to criminal prosecution under Illinois state law.
Can I Grow Marijuana At Home?
With the 2020 Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, specific changes have been implemented regarding marijuana laws. Amongst them is the ability for residents with a medical marijuana card, issued in accordance with the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, to grow up to five plants for personal use.
However, since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, people living in federally subsidized public housing are prohibited from growing weed in their homes. The same applies to renters where the landlord has provisions in the lease agreement from smoking, growing or using weed.
Have You Been Charged With Marijuana Cultivation?
Depending on how many plants are found, you could be charged with either misdemeanor or felony drug cultivation.
- Raising less than 5 plants is usually considered a misdemeanor, but if you are charged with this crime, you could still face up to a year in jail. If you are found cultivating 5 to 20 plants, you could face penalties such as 1 to 3 years in prison.
- Marijuana cultivation that involves 20 to 50 plants can result in a sentence between 2 to 5 years. In most cases, you may also face a $25,000 fine in addition to jail time for cultivating anything more than five plants. If you are a first-time offender of cannabis cultivation, you may be given 24 months of probation and avoid a jail sentence.
- People found raising more than 50 plants do not have this probation option, not even for a first-time offense, and could face 3 to 7 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Looking For a Lawyer For a Marijuana Cultivation Case in Chicago?
If you are facing drug cultivation charges, don't hesitate to call my firm right away. Being arrested for drug crimes can be a confusing and frightening experience, and the threat of a long sentence is very real. As a Chicago criminal defense lawyer, I strongly advise you not to admit to anything or answer any questions by police, the DEA, or other investigatory units until you have spoken to me. I have successfully represented numerous clients charged with the cultivation of marijuana, and I am a zealous defender of rights and will fight for you from start to finish. I am on your side.
Contact the Law Offices of Mitch Furman to speak with a criminal defense attorney today to get started on your case!