If you cultivated 10 to 50 pounds, or 21 to 51 plants, you can draw three years in prison and $15,000 in fines for a first offense.
In Allegheny County and throughout western Pennsylvania, people frequently cultivate marijuana plants and with the recent signing of the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill, this may seem like a relief to marijuana growers. But it is important to remember that while the new medical marijuana law allows patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions to access the drug, the medical marijuana must be purchased from an authorized dispensary. Therefore, if you are found with marijuana plants even if the crop is just for your own use, it can still cause serious legal problems.
If you are caught growing two to 10 pounds of marijuana, or 10 to 21 plants, you risk one year in prison and $5,000 in fines for a first offense. For a second offense, you can face two years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
How a Marijuana Charge Can Harm You
Other possible consequences of a marijuana cultivation conviction:
If you have previously been convicted of any other drug, controlled substance, or marijuana cultivation offense in the past, the minimum mandatory penalties increase upon sentencing. A second offense is punishable by a $30,000 fine and a minimum prison sentence of four years. You could face even greater fines depending on how much money you made from the illegal marijuana cultivation.
The Number of Marijuana Plants That Can Get You Arrested
Marijuana charges as considered criminal offenses, and it’s best to have an experienced Pittsburgh marijuana defense attorney on your side to help you navigate the complexity of the legal process around these cases. Your attorney can help evaluate the evidence being brought against you by the Commonwealth and assess what can and cannot be used to prosecute you. It’s also important to have an attorney who understands how to fight these types of cases and work toward maintaining your rights by drawing on prior experience and an in-depth understanding of the Pittsburgh criminal system.
If you grow marijuana in your basement or garden, and the police charge you with the cultivation of marijuana, you will need to retain a defense attorney who is knowledgeable in the current marijuana laws.
(a) A grower/processor may only grow, store, harvest or process seeds, immature medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana or medical marijuana products in an indoor, enclosed, secure facility as approved by the Department. (b) The following areas of a facility must be clearly marked with proper signage: (1) Growing and processing areas. These areas shall be easily observed by the Department and its authorized agents and by law enforcement. (2) Nongrowing and nonprocessing areas. (3) Limited access areas. All areas of ingress and egress to a limited access area must be clearly identified by the posting of a sign which must be not less than 12 inches wide and 12 inches long, composed of letters not less than 1/2 inch in height, which must state: Do Not Enter—Limited Access Area—Access Limited to Authorized Personnel and Escorted Visitors. (4) Areas that include business offices and reception rooms. (c) A facility must have an enclosed secure area out of public sight for the loading and unloading of seeds, immature medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana and medical marijuana products into and from a transport vehicle.
Source The temporary provisions of this § 1151.23 amended January 13, 2017, effective January 14, 2017, expire on January 14, 2019, 47 Pa.B. 199; amended May 11, 2018, effective May 17, 2018, expire on May 12, 2020, 48 Pa.B. 2767. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (385941).
§ 1151.23. Grower/processor facilities.
Pesticide —A substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating a pest, and a substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant.
§ 1151.40. Management and disposal of medical marijuana waste.
(a) A grower/processor shall use only a pesticide, fungicide or herbicide that is approved by the Department of Agriculture for use on medical marijuana plants and listed in Appendix A (relating to acceptable pesticide active ingredients for use). The Department will periodically publish a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin updating the list of approved pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. (b) A grower/processor shall use a pesticide, fungicide or herbicide listed in Appendix A in a manner that is approved by the Department of Agriculture on the basis of Federal law and regulations. (c) A grower/processor shall maintain a log of all actions taken to detect pests or pathogens, and the measures taken for control. (d) A grower/processor shall: (1) Use appropriate nutrient practices. (2) Use a fertilizer or hydroponic solution of a type, formulation and at a rate to support healthy growth of plants. (3) Maintain records of the type and amounts of fertilizer and any growth additives used. (e) A grower/processor shall perform visual inspections of growing plants and harvested plant material to ensure there is no visible mold, mildew, pests, rot, or grey or black plant material that is greater than an acceptable level as determined by the Department. (f) A grower/processor may not add any additional active ingredients or materials to medical marijuana that alters the dosage level, color, appearance, smell, taste, effect or weight of the medical marijuana unless the grower/processor has first obtained the prior written approval of the Department. Excipients must be pharmaceutical grade, unless otherwise approved by the Department. (g) A grower/processor shall have a separate and secure area for temporary storage of seeds, immature medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana plants, medical marijuana and medical marijuana products that are awaiting disposal by the grower/processor. (h) A grower/processor shall only process the parts of the medical marijuana plant that: (1) Are free of seeds and stems. (2) Are free of dirt, sand, debris or other foreign matter. (3) Contain a level of mold, rot or other fungus or bacterial diseases acceptable to the Department. (i) A grower/processor shall process the medical marijuana plants in a safe and sanitary manner. The following requirements apply: (1) Medical marijuana plants, raw material and other product used in the processing of medical marijuana shall be handled on food-grade stainless steel benches or tables. (2) Proper sanitation shall be maintained. (3) Proper rodent, bird and pest exclusion practices shall be employed. (j) A grower/processor shall install a system to monitor, record and regulate: (1) Temperature. (2) Humidity. (3) Ventilation. (4) Lighting. (5) Water supply.
Source The temporary provisions of this § 1151.27 amended January 13, 2017, effective January 14, 2017, expire on January 14, 2019, 47 Pa.B. 199; amended May 11, 2018, effective May 17, 2018, expire on May 12, 2020, 48 Pa.B. 2767. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (385946) to (385947).