Rigorous Defense of Marijuana Cultivation Charges in South Florida
It is well known that Florida has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. Under Florida Statute 893.1351, commonly referred to as the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act,
- ”… proof of the possession of 25 or more cannabis plants constitutes prima facie evidence that the cannabis is intended for sale or distribution.” 893.1351(4)
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a conviction for cultivating 25 or more marijuana plants can potentially result in a prison sentence of up to 5, 15 or even 30 years. If you were arrested for violating the Florida grow house law it is crucial to hire an experienced and qualified drug defense lawyer at the earliest possible time. Attorney David W. Olson has more than 33 years representing clients charged with drug offenses. He offers a free case review.
Landlords, Residents and Even Guests May be Charged
Though marijuana is legal for medical and/or personal use in more than 20 states, in Florida any amount of marijuana remains illegal. Moreover, Florida rates marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, contending there is no accepted medical use and that there is a high potential for abuse. Incredulously, marijuana is scheduled the same as heroin and other dangerous drugs.
Under this statute it is illegal to knowingly utilize property for the purpose of:
- Trafficking in a controlled substance
- Sale of a controlled substance
- Manufacturing a controlled substance intended for sale or distribution to another
- Anyone who owns, leases or rents the property knowing of the marijuana cultivation – 3rd degree felony, up to 5 years prison;
- Anyone knowingly in actual or constructive possession of the property – 2nd degree felony, up to 15 years prison;
- Anyone in actual or constructive possession of the property who knew or should have known that a minor was present or residing on the property – 1st degree felony, up to 30 years prison.
Under the grow house law, property owners and managers, renters, residents and even visitors may potentially be charged with and convicted of a felony if he or she had knowledge that marijuana was cultivated on the premises.
A grow house may exist wherever 25 or more marijuana plants are cultivated, including the following:
- Greenhouse, farm, garden, house, condominium, apartment, trailer, vehicle, garage, barn, shed, room, basement or other structure
- Further, many defendants mistakenly believe that a marijuana plant must be leafy, robust and in full or partial bloom, but under this statute a tiny seedling or cutting with root hairs is considered a single plant
Other Consequences and Sanctions that may Potentially Result from a Marijuana Grow House Conviction
There are numerous consequences that may result from a felony marijuana conviction. Possible examples include:
- Asset forfeitures – the government may seize real and personal property such as homes, cars, cash, bank accounts, holdings
- Two year driver’s license suspension
- Lifetime firearm ownership prohibition
- Professional licensure bans and restrictions although in some instances a course may be taken
- Many employers do not hire drug offenders, particularly any position requiring security clearance
- Criminal record – this alone often closes the door to employment opportunities, housing, etc.
- Probation/parole, supervised release, mandatory drug programs, community service, fines
Grow House Defenses
As in all criminal cases, the prosecution must prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are numerous defenses that your attorney may employ; speak to him to discuss your particular case. Some of the legal defenses that have been used in prior grow house cases include these general examples:
- Procedural defects – whether or not the arrest was in accordance with lawful procedure
- Lack of probable cause – if probable cause did not exist, a dismissal may potentially result
- Illegal searches and seizures, warrantless searches, defective warrants – often grounds for dismissal
- Entrapment – an affirmative defense that is viable in certain cases
- Medical necessity – in some cases the court has allowed this defense
- Lack of knowledge of existence of plants – when the accused did not have knowledge of grow house
West Palm Beach Law Offices of Criminal Defense Attorney David W. Olson
Criminal Defense Attorney David Olson has represented thousands of clients accused of a wide variety of offenses over the past 33 years, including marijuana grow house and cultivation charges, possession, sales, trafficking, distribution, manufacturing of controlled substances and other serious criminal felonies and misdemeanor offenses. David represents adults and minors charged with Florida and federal crimes.
- Attorney Olson is on the Legal Committee of NORML – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – and a Lifetime Member.
- He is also a Member of both the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Organization of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
- Attorney Olson was honored by his peers with the AV Preeminent 5.0/5.0 Rating, the highest rating possible, for professional excellence, legal knowledge, and high ethical standards.
Attorney David Olson represents clients in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, South Florida and throughout the state. He offers a free phone or in-office case review. To schedule your appointment, call 561-833-8866.
Florida Statute 893.1351