Arrested for Growing Marijuana in Maine?
Defense Lawyers Protecting the Rights of those in Portland, Augusta, Bangor, Saco and Biddeford
Drug crimes in Maine are serious crimes that carry hefty penalties. One type of drug crime that is ruled as a felony is cultivation of marijuana. Growing marijuana is a crime and police looked to crack down on people who are found cultivating drugs. A drug arrest in Maine should not be taken lightly. Some people think that marijuana charges are not serious because it is legal in some states and used for medicinal purposes. This is not true. A conviction for marijuana cultivation can result in years in prison, steep fines and more. In addition, a felony conviction on your record will have a serious impact on your career and educational goals.
Maine Marijuana Cultivation Defense Lawyer
Before the passage of Maine's Medical Marijuana Act, most of the marijuana used in Maine was produced in Canada, Jamaica and primarily Mexico. Over the past couple decades, marijuana has become the major drug of abuse that is grown within the United States borders, and the Drug Enforcement Administration created the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program to attempt to halt the spread of cannabis cultivation. Since this program was implemented in Maine in 1989, over 130,000 cannabis plants have been confiscated and over 1,200 people have been arrested over a 10-year period. Drug cultivation is a serious charge and can result in felony charges.
Southern Maine, specifically York County, is considered to be the primary cannabis growing area within the state and this area produces "Green Bud" marijuana that sells for $3,000 to $4,000 per pound because of its high quality. The crime of cultivating marijuana is defined in Maine Revised Statute Title §1117 as the intentional growing or cultivating of the cannabis plant.
Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation in Maine
Drug cultivation charges carry serious consequences. If the number of marijuana plants involved with a cultivation charge is less than five, the defendant will face a Class E crime and minor penalties. The penalties increase for the Class D crime of cultivating more than five but fewer than 100 plants. Cultivating more than one 100 marijuana plants but fewer than 500 will be charged as a Class C crime, and more than 500 plants will result in Class B penalties. As with other drug crimes, the specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of the arrest and other factors as well.
The maximum sentences for these class of crimes are as follows:
Class E: A jail sentence of up to 6 months and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Class D: A jail sentence of up to 1 year and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
Class C: A jail sentence of up to 5 years and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
Class B: A jail sentence of up to 10 years and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
Other factors that can add to your sentence include your criminal history and any past drug related convictions. If a vehicle is used in any form of the cultivation process, license suspension can also be added to the sentence.
Marijuana cultivation can also lead to other drug charges too. Possession of large amounts of any drug will lead police to suspect intent to sell or trafficking. Drug Trafficking is defined as “To sell, barter, trade, exchange or otherwise furnish for consideration” [1999, c. 453, §1 (AMD).] Possession of over one pound of marijuana can lead to drug trafficking charges and the penalties are even greater if you are cultivating it as well.
As with other criminal offenses, there are several factors that can increase the penalties for a marijuana cultivation charge. These include:
- The offender owns, carries, uses or possesses a firearm at the location of the cultivation
- A minor under the age of 18 is involved in the cultivation process
- The cultivation takes place in or within 1,000 feet of a school zone
Medical Marijuana Maine has allowed the limited possession and prescribing of marijuana for medical purposes since 1999, but Medical Marijuana Act was established and reaffirmed by voters in 2009. Maine Governor Paul LePage recently passed the LD 1296, An Act to Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act To Protect Patient Privacy in June of 2011, and this law brought about new changes for medical cannabis growers. Now, instead of growing inside an enclosed and locked facility, growers can now grow their plants in a fenced area. Growers are allowed to have six plants for each patient, and many growers throughout the state are part of the nonprofit trade association called Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine which provides constant updates on marijuana law. If you are found cultivating marijuana and are not part of this group, you will be arrested for a serious offense even if you claim it is for medical purposes.
Contact our office today to find out how we can protect your rights. We are here to help you.