Drug manufacturing is taken very seriously in Florida at both the state and federal level. Unfortunately, drug manufacturing is relatively common in the Sunshine State, and we have recently seen an uptick in drug manufacturing and trafficking cases.In Parker, Florida, two men were recently charged with manufacture and trafficking of methamphetamine. Since a one-year-old child was present in the home when police made the arrest, they will be subject to enhanced sentencing.In Marion County, Florida, a months-long investigation has resulted in the arrest and charging of nearly 100 people. Large amounts of multiple controlled substances, illegally possessed firearms and other paraphernalia have been seized. Charges range from possession to trafficking and racketeering charges.With all of these happening, it’s evident that Florida is cracking down on drug manufacturing operations both large and small. It is therefore important to understand drug manufacturing charges and penalties.
Penalties for Actual Manufacturing or Cultivation
Drug manufacture and trafficking is taken very seriously. Florida implements harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences and high fines for drug manufacture. Further, large-scale manufacture (usually kilogram quantities and above) may be charged as a capital felony, which is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole. MethamphetamineMethamphetamine is one of the most commonly manufactured drugs in the U.S. due to ease of manufacture and of obtaining the necessary precursors.According to Florida Statute 893.135 (3)(f), manufacture of methamphetamine is punished based on the amount of the substance:
- 14-27 grams: 3 years mandatory minimum and a $50,000 fine
- 28-199 grams: 7 years mandatory minimum and a $100,000 fine
- 200-399 grams: 15 years mandatory minimum and a $250,000 fine
- 400 or more grams: Life without parole and a $250,000 fine
CocaineCocaine is one of the most commonly sold and manufactured drugs in Florida. The penalties for Cocaine manufacture are as follows:
- 28-199 grams: 3 years mandatory minimum and fine of $50,000
- 200-399 grams: 7 years mandatory minimum and fine of $100,000
- 400+ grams but less than 150 kilograms: 15 years mandatory minimum and fine of $250,000.
- 150 kilograms in more: Life without parole and fine of $250,000
MarijuanaFlorida recently passed a bill expanding the medical use of marijuana. However, recreational use of marijuana is still illegal, and cultivation without proper licensure will still result in drug manufacture/trafficking charges.The penalties for marijuana cultivation are as follows:
- 25-1,000 pounds: 3 years mandatory minimum and a $50,000 fine
- 2,000-9,999 pounds: 7 years mandatory minimum and a $50,000 fine
- 10,000+ pounds: 15 years mandatory minimum and a $200,000 fine.
HeroinOur nation is currently in the midst of an opioid crisis, with heroin overdoses killing hundreds of thousands of Americans annually. Law enforcement and the justice system therefore take heroin manufacture very seriously.The penalties for heroin manufacture are as follows:
- 4-13 grams: 3 years mandatory minimum and a $50,000 fine
- 14-27 grams: 15 years mandatory minimum and a $100,000 fine
- 28 grams-29 kilograms: 25 years mandatory minimum and a $250,000 fine
- 30+ kilograms: Life without parole and a $500,000 fine
MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)MDDMA is a popular club drug. It has a high potential for addiction, and adverse reactions or overdoses can be fatal.Penalties for MDMA manufacture are as follows:
- 10-199 grams: 3 years mandatory minimum and a $50,000 fine
- 200-399 grams: 7 years mandatory minimum and a $100,000 fine
- 400+ grams: 15 years mandatory minimum and a $250,000 fine
Providing a Space for Manufacture
Property owners who knowingly provide a space for drug manufacture may also be held liable for drug manufacturing charges. Depending upon the specific circumstance of the alleged offense, property owners may be subject to the following charges and penalties: Third-Degree FelonyIf the defendant owns, leases or rents any place with the knowledge that it will be used for manufacture of a controlled substance intended for sale or distribution for others, he or she will be charged with a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.Second-Degree FelonyIf the defendant is in actual or constructive possession of any place with the knowledge that it will be used for manufacture of a controlled substance intended for sale or distribution to others, he or she will be charged with a second-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. First-Degree FelonyIf the defendant is in constructive possession of a drug manufacturing place as described above and knows or should know that a minor was present or resides in the place, he or she will be charged with a first-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possessing Manufacturing Equipment
Actual or constructive possession of manufacturing equipment alone is not considered sufficient evidence for drug manufacture.If the defendant is found in possession of manufacturing equipment alone and no controlled substances or manufacturing precursors (e.g. ephedrine) are present, this is treated as possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail.
However, possession of manufacturing equipment in conjunction with a controlled substance or its precursors can be considered grounds for an actual manufacturing charge, which is treated as described above.No matter what kind of manufacturing or cultivation-related charge you find yourself up against, your best chance at getting a positive outcome is to work with a knowledgeable Florida drug manufacturing lawyer to fight back.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.