The manufacture or production of marijuana is often referred to as cultivation, and people attempt to cultivate cannabis in different outdoor and indoor grow sites. Law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina investigate and crack down on marijuana cultivation sites, commonly referred to as “grow houses.”
Growing cannabis is a felony offense, regardless of the quantity. Depending on the amount seized, alleged offenders can often be charged with multiple criminal offenses.
If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested in the Research Triangle area for allegedly cultivating cannabis or operating a grow house, it will be in your best interest to not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal representation. The Coolidge Law Firm aggressively defends clients accused of all kinds of marijuana crimes in communities throughout Wake County, including Garner, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, and many others.
Raleigh criminal defense attorney David Coolidge also defends students at such local colleges as Meredith College, William Peace University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), and Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech). He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
North Carolina General Statute § 90-95(a)(1) makes it unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a controlled substance such as marijuana. Under North Carolina General Statute § 90-95(a)(3), it is also illegal for any person to possess a controlled substance such as cannabis.
A cultivation or grow house offense can be considered a violation of either of these statutes. Criminal charges for such violations are based on the amount of marijuana that authorities seize.
When the alleged amount of marijuana that was manufactured or possessed with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver was 10 pounds or less, the crime is generally a Class I felony punishable by up to 12 months in prison, depending on an alleged offender’s prior criminal record. Any alleged sale of 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a Class H felony punishable by up to 25 months in prison if an alleged offender has previous convictions.
If an alleged offender is accused of possession of marijuana, then the criminal offense is graded as follows, depending on the weight involved:
Another criminal charge that may result from a marijuana cultivation arrest concerns alleged violations of North Carolina General Statute § 90-108(7), which prohibits knowingly keeping or maintaining any place for using controlled substances. If a prosecutor can prove the alleged offender committed this violation intentionally, the offense is a Class I felony.
Some alleged offenders can also face criminal charges relating to possession of drug or marijuana paraphernalia. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor under North Carolina General Statute § 90-113.22, while possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia is a Class 3 misdemeanor under North Carolina General Statute § 90-113.22A.
If the amount of marijuana seized by law enforcement agencies during an alleged cannabis cultivation or grow house offense exceeds 10 pounds, then the alleged offender is likely to be charged with trafficking in marijuana. Drug trafficking crimes in North Carolina are felony offenses that carry much stiffer prison sentences than other crimes.
Cannabis trafficking convictions can be punishable as follows:
Cannabis Cultivation Trends | National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) — The NDIC was a component of the United States Department of Justice until 2012 when many of its functions were transferred over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This February 2007 report discusses marijuana cultivation trends relating to outdoor and indoor sites in the United States. Western North Carolina is identified as an area where Mexican drug trafficking organizations established outdoor grow sites.
Busted marijuana operation worth millions, Moore County sheriff says — In November 2016, investigators executed a search warrant at a home as part of a larceny-of-power investigation from Randolph Electric Membership Corporation. According to WNCN, it was discovered that someone had installed a 700-pound transformer to siphon power from the grid and Moore County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered a “large elaborate” indoor marijuana growing operation. The 109 marijuana plants weighing 606 pounds had an estimated street value of more than $2 million.
Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for allegedly cultivating cannabis or operating a grow house in the Research Triangle? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact the Coolidge Law Firm as soon as possible.
David Coolidge is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh who represents individuals in Zebulon, Rolesville, Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville, Knightdale, Wendell, and many surrounding areas of Wake County as well as students at such local higher learning institutions as Duke University, North Carolina State University (NCSU)the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Shaw University. Call (919) 239-8448 or submit an online contact form to have one of our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.