Tough Annapolis Attorney Defends Against Marijuana Growing Charges
Fighting for the rights of marijuana cultivation defendants in Maryland courts
Though the number of states legalizing marijuana continuously expands, it is still illegal to grow marijuana within the state of Maryland. Many people fail to take marijuana charges seriously, but in our state, a conviction could result in a life-altering felony on your criminal record. A conviction for non-recreational or non-medical use could result in time in jail/prison and in substantial fines and court costs.
My name is Gill Andrew Cochran, and I have the criminal defense experience to fight for you. If you are facing charges in relation to growing marijuana, obtain representation from a skilled Annapolis marijuana defense attorney from Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law for the tough defense your case requires. I’ll assert all the legal and factual defenses that apply. In many cases, I work to negotiate a plea agreement. I’m also always ready to try your case before a jury with the aim of obtaining an acquittal.
What are the types of Maryland marijuana drug charges?
Maryland law does not include a specific marijuana growing statute. Instead, the state generally uses some form of possession or distribution charge for growing marijuana. The potential penalties largely depend on the amount of marijuana you are accused of cultivating.
Possession with intent to distribute means that you possess the marijuana for the purpose of providing it to other parties. Intent charges are treated more harshly than simple possession charges. Growing marijuana may also be considered manufacturing marijuana, even though no chemical processes are involved.
Whether you are accused of growing a few plants or a few hundred plants, a knowledgeable Annapolis marijuana cultivation attorney puts forth an aggressive defense on your behalf. Any drug conviction can impact your life, so it’s important to take every drug charge seriously.
What are the penalties for growing marijuana in Maryland?
Penalties for cultivating pot vary – depending on whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony, the degree of the crime, the amount of marijuana, and the details of the crime itself.
According to NORML, marijuana penalties in Maryland are:
Possession – Personal Use
- Less than 10 g
- Civil offense
- No jail time
- $100 fine
- 10g – less than 50 lbs.
- Up to a one-year sentence
- $ 1,000 fine
- 50 lbs. or more
- Up to 5 years in jail
- $ 100,000 fine
- Offenses involving the use of marijuana in public carries a civil fine of up to $500
Possession with intent to distribute
- Less than 50 lbs.
- Up to 5 years in prison
- $ 15,000 fine
- 50 lbs. or more
- Up to 5 years in prison
- $ 15,000 fine
- More than 50 lbs. (drug kingpin)
- 20 to 40 years in prison
- $1,000,000 fine
The fines increase for repeat offenses. Generally, a subsequent offense will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of two years. There are additional penalties if children or a school vehicle were involved, or the offense occurs within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school.
What other consequences come with a Maryland drug conviction?
In addition to the penalties mentioned above, a criminal conviction can also bring other collateral consequences. A criminal record can:
- Negatively affect your ability to find a good job, keep your current job, obtain a professional license, join the armed forces, or apply to graduate school
- Result in a suspension of your driver’s license
- Prevent you from obtaining a federal loan or financial assistance for school
- Affect your child custody agreement (in some cases)
- Lose your right to possess a firearm
Depending on the specific details of your case, with the wrong attorney, mounting a strong defense can prove challenging. I have the skills to present information about your personal consumption or challenge the admissibility of evidence relating to possession or distribution.
What are some possible defenses to a pot cultivation charge?
While the best possible outcome for marijuana cases is usually an acquittal, there are specific situations where the most attainable outcome is lessening the severity of the charges. When this applies, I know how to successfully negotiate with the state for simple possession instead of distribution charges.
I also assert all defenses that apply to your case. Common defenses in drug cultivation cases include:
- No intent to distribute. A common defense tactic in marijuana growing cases is proving that you were growing the plants for personal use, and not with the intention to distribute.
- Illegal search. Another common defense strategy is to argue that the police didn’t have a search warrant or didn’t have reasonable grounds to conduct a search. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regulates which searches are legal and which ones are illegal. If the evidence of the marijuana plants was obtained illegally, that evidence should be suppressed in court.
- Lack of knowledge. A defendant may be able to argue he/she wasn’t aware that marijuana was being grown on their property. For example, the marijuana may have been growing on a neighbor’s property and spread to the defendant’s property.
- Failure of the government to prove its case. The prosecution must prove its charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If there’s a reasonable doubt, the jury must acquit the defendant
Many other defenses may apply, depending on where the marijuana is being grown and the facts of the case.
Police may think you’re growing marijuana based on visual observations of the plants from the street, from flyovers that are generally legal to conduct, and by other means, such as observing if you have a greenhouse.
Trust your case to an experienced Annapolis drug crimes attorney
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I work closely with my clients to develop a legal strategy unique to their case. I have spent years defending Annapolis clients against drug charges. Let me put that experience to work for you. If you are facing charges related to cultivating marijuana, call me at 410.777.8103 or complete our contact form to learn more about how I can help.
And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.