At the beginning of August 2017, three individuals pleaded guilty and were convicted of activity related to marijuana cultivation. One of the men was sentenced to two years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Another man was arrested during a marijuana raid by Texas law enforcement where law enforcement discovered 4,000 marijuana plants. Two other defendants pleaded guilty and were convicted of criminal conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana over 50 pounds but less than 5,000 pounds. These arrests occurred after law enforcement determined that more than a dozen illegal marijuana grows in the region could be traced to the Los Zetas cartel.
Marijuana and the Plain View Doctrine
If law enforcement enters a person’s home in accordance with a lawful search warrant, any obviously incriminating evidence that an officer notices will likely be admissible if these clues were in plain view. If law enforcement is lawfully inside a person’s home, there are likely many clues that a person is engaging in marijuana cultivation. Many people decide to cultivate marijuana indoors so that the person has complete control of the conditions under which the marijuana is grown. Some of the various signs of indoor marijuana cultivation that law enforcement is taught to look for include the following:
- Blacked out or covered windows.
- Growing material including containers, fertilizer, hoses, and soil.
- Guard dogs.
- Humming sounds from a fan.
- Musty and strong odors.
Potential Penalties for Growing Marijuana
In regards to the growth or cultivation of marijuana, Texas is unique because the state lacks specific penalties for this type of activity. Instead, a person who is determined to be growing marijuana will be charged with possession of the drug. The exact penalty that a person faces will be based on the dry weight of the plants that the person is growing. In many cases, law enforcement will weigh a person’s marijuana plants with dirt to add to the weight of the plant. Any amount of marijuana greater than four ounces is classified as a felony offense in the state of Texas, which means that nearly everyone caught growing marijuana will end up facing a felony offense. If marijuana weighs between four ounces and five pounds, a person will face between 180 days two years in jail in addition to a $10,000 fine. If the person’s marijuana weighs between five and 50 pounds, the individuals face two to 10 years, and if the marijuana in question is between 50 and 2,000 pounds, then a person faces two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Speak with a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney
Marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug in the state of Texas and there are many types of offenses related to marijuana with which a person can be charged. If you are charged with marijuana possession or any other type of offense in Denton or surrounding area, obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney. Contact Wheeler Law Office today.
(image courtesy of Shane Rounce)