With the passage of House Bill 173, otherwise known as the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, in 2008, Florida Statute § 893.02(5) defined cultivating as “the preparation of any soil or hydroponic medium for the planting of a controlled substance or the tending and care or harvesting of a controlled substance.” Cultivation usually refers, quite simply, to the growing or manufacture of marijuana.
In 2011, the Sun-Sentinel reported that more marijuana grow houses—the indoor locations where cannabis is cultivated—were seized in Florida than in any other state in the nation. Not only have law enforcement agencies increasingly focused on cracking down on alleged grow houses and cultivation activities in the Sunshine State, but lawmakers have also enacted steep penalties for the people convicted of these crimes.
Were you arrested or do you think that you might be under investigation for allegedly cultivating cannabis or operating a grow house in South Florida? Do not speak to authorities unless you have legal representation. Contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. as soon as possible.
West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell aggressively defend individuals accused of all types of alleged marijuana crimes in communities throughout Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County, including Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, and many others. Call (561) 283-3259 today to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Florida Statute § 893.13(1) establishes that it is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if an alleged offender manufactures or cultivates marijuana in Florida.
Cultivation of cannabis charges, however, can be enhanced to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offense occurs in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any of the following:
When an alleged marijuana cultivation offense exceeds a certain threshold amount, the alleged offender can be charged with trafficking in cannabis. Marijuana trafficking crimes are first-degree felony offenses that are punishable as follows:
The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act also amended Florida Statute § 893.1351 to prohibit people from owning or actually or constructively possessing a place, structure, trailer, or other described place with knowledge that the place will be used to manufacture, sell, or traffic in marijuana. The Act also provided that possession of 25 or more cannabis plants—regardless of their stage of growth—constitutes prima facie evidence of intent to sell or distribute.
Under this statute, possession of a place for trafficking in or manufacturing of marijuana such as a grow house can result in the following criminal charges:
Grow Houses | Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition — The Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of concerned citizens and members of private and public businesses who work together to reduce the use of alcohol, drugs, and other controlled substances among children. View a report from the organization that discusses the community impact of marijuana grow houses, damage caused by grow houses, and identifying grow houses. You can also learn how to report a potential grow house.
Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition
2300 High Ridge Rd.
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
2015 Annual Report | Florida’s Domestic Marijuana Eradication (DME) Program — View the full text of this April 2016 report from the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. According to the report, “seizures of marijuana from indoor grow sites continued to outpace seizures from outdoor grow sites” in 2015. Statistics are broken down by county, and Palm Beach County had the third-highest totals in the state for the number of indoor sites, plants seized, and arrests.
If you think that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested in South Florida for allegedly operating a grow house or cultivating cannabis, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can examine whether any of your rights were violated in the handling of your case and fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are criminal defense lawyers in West Palm Beach who represent clients in Boynton Beach, Wellington, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres, and many surrounding areas of Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County. They can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (561) 283-3259 or complete an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.