The Lux Law Firm
Former Prosecutor with Tremendous Experience Aggressively Fights to Protect Your Rights
The public’s perception of marijuana continues its gradual progress toward acceptance and moving away from prohibition. Notwithstanding, marijuana remains highly regulated, and growing or cultivating your own remains a felony offense in Colorado. Consequently, you will need a tough, aggressive, and experienced Colorado Springs marijuana cultivation defense attorney by your side if you face marijuana cultivation charges.
Even though several states, including Colorado, have loosened their restrictions on marijuana possession and use, cultivation of marijuana remains a felony at the federal level. Federal authorities vigorously pursue marijuana cultivation indictments regularly. As a result, anyone charged with marijuana cultivation at the state level must consult an accomplished Colorado Springs marijuana cultivation defense attorney for representation.
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Limitations on Marijuana Use in Colorado
Colorado was one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana. State legislators recognized the prevailing medical opinion approving of the medicinal use of marijuana. Accordingly, Colorado initiated a medical marijuana program accessed by prescription holders only. Since then, the state has also legalized recreational use of marijuana.
But limitations on marijuana use in Colorado remain in place. For example, minors cannot consume or possess marijuana under current Colorado law. Colorado legislators believe that prohibiting minors from using or possessing marijuana will promote positive health choices when they achieve legal adulthood. In this instance, a minor is anyone under 21 years of age.
Penalties for Cultivating Marijuana in Colorado
Marijuana remains under the strict control of the government. Anyone who grows their own recreational or medicinal marijuana for retail purposes must do so only after obtaining a marijuana products manufacturer license. Transporting marijuana without a retail license is also a crime.
The penalties for felony cultivation of marijuana at the state level depend on the number of plants law enforcement seized and the location where you allegedly grew the marijuana plants under Colorado law.
Does it Matter Where You Grow Your Marijuana?
Colorado’s marijuana laws prohibit any person from growing, cultivating, or producing a marijuana plant on any land they own, occupy, or control. Additionally, the law prohibits anyone from allowing another person to grow, cultivate, or produce a marijuana plant on any land they own, occupy, or control.
However, under recent changes in the law, you can grow up to six plants in your home (but not outside of your house). Additionally, three out of your six plants may be in the flowering stage at any one time. You must be at least 21 to grow marijuana. Also, Colorado law limits the number of total plants in the home to 12, no matter the number of adults 21 or older living in the home.
The state passed strict rules for growing marijuana. People cultivating plants must be in an enclosure inside a home that minors cannot reach. Also, the law prohibits you from selling your homegrown marijuana.
Possible Jail Time For Marijuana Cultivation
The penalty for this crime depends on the number of plants seized by police. The following table explains the severity of the offense, punishment, and potential fines for each offense:
|Number of Plants||Offense Level||Sentence Range||Fine Range|
|One to Six (If outside the home)||Level One Drug Misdemeanor||Six to 18 months in jail||$500 to $5,000|
|Seven to 30||Level Four Drug Felony||Six months in jail to one year in prison||$1,000 to $100,000|
|More than 30||Level Three Drug Felony||Two years to four years||$2,000 to $500,000|
Anyone convicted of felony marijuana cultivation for a second time faces between four and 12 years in prison and fines up to $750,000. Additionally, the State could seek enhanced penalties for cultivating marijuana in a school zone or near public housing. Finally, the judge could impose longer prison sentences for using a minor to help grow or distribute marijuana and giving marijuana to a minor.
Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation Under Federal Law
Federal authorities have jurisdiction over marijuana cultivation, as do state authorities. However, federal prosecution is possible for growing even one plant. The likelihood of a federal indictment for cultivating marijuana is greater if law enforcement connects you to a national drug-dealing or international drug-dealing enterprise. Notwithstanding, you should be aware that cultivating marijuana is a federal crime.
The federal laws that outlaw marijuana cultivation carry harsher penalties than Colorado law. Marijuana cultivation is a felony under federal law. Accordingly, the Federal sentencing scheme for marijuana cultivation is:
|Number of Plants||Minimum Sentence||Maximum Sentence||Fine|
|100-999||Five Years||40 Years||$500,000|
Federal authorities must allege a connection to interstate commerce to obtain jurisdiction over marijuana cultivation. Federal authorities find creative ways to satisfy that element of the crime, like alleging something connected to the marijuana grow moved through interstate commerce, such as a cellphone. Technically, medical marijuana growers are not exempt from federal prosecution. Notwithstanding, federal authorities do not pursue medical marijuana growers unless they actively sell their products out of state.
Potential Collateral Consequences for a Felony Marijuana Cultivation Conviction
The potential consequences of a felony conviction for marijuana cultivation are dire. As with all felony convictions, you must report that fact on a job application. Also, you will lose the right to vote. You must report any charge and conviction to your professional licensing board if you have a professional license. Moreover, you could lose your job, according to a decision from the Colorado Supreme court, for a marijuana charge because cultivating marijuana is a federal crime. Lastly, you can no longer legally carry or possess a firearm or ammunition after a felony conviction.
Possible Defenses to Felony Marijuana Cultivation Charges
The individual circumstances of your case determine the best defense strategies for you. Consulting a highly experienced and knowledgable Colorado Springs marijuana cultivation defense attorney as soon as you learn that you are under investigation or you have been arrested allows you to launch a potent defense right away.
Motions to Suppress Evidence of Marijuana Cultivation
Defenses to marijuana cultivation charges often involve complementary pre-trial and trial strategies. Cultivation is a possessory crime and takes place in secret. Law enforcement officers use clandestine investigation strategies to obtain evidence of marijuana growing operations. Police sometimes use confidential informants to invade growers, who report back to the police. Detectives apply for search warrants if the marijuana grows are on private property, in a home, or another structure. Police will raid the suspect premises armed with a search warrant and seize all contraband. Marijuana cultivation comes to the attention of the police in other ways. Notwithstanding, the police frequently use the power granted by a search warrant to enter the premises and seize suspected contraband.
Contesting the legality of the search warrant is often the first defense option many people will explore. A court can issue a search warrant only when the affidavit filed in support of the warrant application contained probable cause. A judge will review the warrant for probable cause if the accused files a motion to suppress the warrant.
If the court grants a motion to suppress, then the judge must suppress all evidence seized by police under the authority of the warrant. Therefore, the State will have little or no evidence to present to a jury if the judge allows your motion to suppress. In most instances, the State will dismiss the case against you.
Marijuana Cultivation Trial Defenses
Motions to suppress are just the beginning of mounting a strong defense. You have the right to go to trial if you lose your motion. At trial, the State must prove that you either owned, occupied, or controlled the land or residence connected to the marijuana grow. Additionally, the State must prove that you knew about the marijuana cultivation on the property.
You could defend against these charges by claiming that you have a medical marijuana license that allows you to grow marijuana plants. Additionally, you could defend against the charges by arguing that you did not know of the grow or have control over it.
A strong advocate will negotiate a plea while pursuing other defenses. You could accept favorable terms under a plea agreement that helps you avoid a felony conviction or even jail time.
Why The Lux Law Firm Is Right for You
Colorado Springs marijuana cultivation defense lawyer Austin Lux is a former prosecutor who prosecuted drug crimes. He understands marijuana cultivation cases better than most attorneys. As a result, Austin could give you the best chance to beat your marijuana cultivation charges or negotiate a reduced charge.
Rely on Colorado Springs marijuana cultivation defense attorney Austin Lux for your defense. Call The Lux Law Firm today at 719-368-7698 or fill out our contact form. Do not wait to see what could happen. By then, it may be too late. Call today.