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Marijuana Cultivation Investigation Leads to Additional Charges

Marijuana Cultivation Investigation Leads to Additional Charges

The Miami Herald reported on January 18 that police suspected there was a “marijuana lab” inside a warehouse on 123rd Street in Medley and saw a Hialeah man park a pickup truck in front of the warehouse, go inside, and return back to the truck about two hours later. According to the police report, officers entered the warehouse with a search warrant and found “two fully functioning hydroponics laboratories,” one of which had 25 plants and the other had 11. 

The Herald reported that police also found grow equipment and chemicals and documents addressed to the alleged offender. A stolen truck was also discovered inside the warehouse during the search, with one detective noticing that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the truck had been tampered with and determined the truck had been stolen from Broward County in 2016. 

The man was held in jail with no bond on charges that included grand theft of a vehicle, altering a vehicle’s information, and trafficking marijuana, according to the Herald. All three of those crimes are felony offenses.

Miami Marijuana Crimes Defense Lawyer

Marijuana grow houses have become a common target for lawmakers and law enforcement agencies alike. The passage of the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act in 2008 by the Florida Legislature not only increased the penalties for people convicted of growing cannabis plants, but also established criminal penalties for the individuals who own property used in marijuana cultivation offenses. 

As codified under Florida Statute § 893.1351, a property owner could face any of the following charges: 

  • Owning, leasing, or renting any place, structure, or part thereof, trailer, or other conveyance with the knowledge that the place, structure, trailer, or conveyance will be used for the purpose of trafficking in, the sale of, or the manufacture of marijuana intended for sale or distribution to another is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 
  • Knowingly being in actual or constructive possession of any place, structure, or part thereof, trailer, or other conveyance with the knowledge that the place, structure, or part thereof, trailer, or conveyance will be used for the purpose of trafficking in, the sale of, or the manufacture of cannabis intended for sale or distribution to another is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Being in actual or constructive possession of a place, structure, trailer, or conveyance with the knowledge that the place, structure, trailer, or conveyance is being used to manufacture marijuana intended for sale or distribution to another and knowing or having should have known that a minor is present or resides in the place, structure, trailer, or conveyance is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Marijuana cultivation is generally a third-degree felony under Florida Statute § 893.13(1)(a)2., but it can become a second-degree felony under Florida Statute § 893.13(1)(c)2. if the offense is committed in a so-called “drug-free zone.” While Florida has legalized a medical marijuana program, the state has not yet made it legal for people to grow their own cannabis—even for medicinal purposes. 

If you think you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for a marijuana cultivation offense or any other cannabis crime, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents clients in communities all over the greater Miami-Dade County area.

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