More and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical use. Now, a majority of states have some exception for possession and adult use of pot with a prescription or medical marijuana card. Many of those states allow patients to grow their own medical marijuana. Unfortunately, there may be a disconnect between the medial marijuana laws and how police treat people growing weed for medical use.
Marijuana cultivation is still a federal offense and a crime in many states. If the police do not recognize a medical marijuana patient's rights to grow their own, it can lead to criminal charges. After an arrest for growing marijuana, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal advice.
The majority of states allow for the legal adult use and possession of limited amounts of marijuana for approved medical purposes. The medical approval varies by state, with some states allowing pot for only a few medical reasons. Other states allow medical marijuana use for a variety of medical conditions, including:
California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington followed in 1998 to legalize medical cannabis. Nevada, Hawaii, Maine, and Colorado all legalized medical cannabis by the year 2000. As of March 1, 2021, 36 states have approved medical marijuana programs, in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Medical marijuana is allowed in most states but not all states allow patients to grow their own. Medical marijuana patients have an interest in growing their own weed for several reasons, including to save money, as a hobby, or to make sure they know exactly what is going into the medicine they are ingesting. Some of the states that allow limited home-grown cannabis for medical use include:
States that allow medical marijuana are roughly split with those that allow you to grow medical marijuana at home and those where home cultivation is illegal. In states where growing is illegal, it may be a criminal offense to grow marijuana, even with a prescription or medical card.
The restrictions and limitations on home-growing vary by state. States that do allow for growing marijuana at home are generally limited by mature plants and/or seedlings. For example, in Maine, an adult 21 or older can grow up to 6 mature cannabis plants at a time for medical use. In California, personal use is limited to six plants but there is no limit for growing for medical use, up to the amount necessary for their medical condition.
If you live in a state that does not allow cultivation of cannabis for medical patients, you may face criminal charges. Even with a medical marijuana card, patients are limited by their state's regulations for home-growing. In some states, home cultivation of cannabis is a felony. Penalties for growing weed at home could include jail time, fines, and even seizing the property.
The penalties for growing pot at home in violation of state law may depend on several factors, including:
The police may bust into your house and arrest you for growing marijuana but that does not mean you committed a crime. There are many legal defense strategies available to those facing criminal pot cultivation charges. If the police conducted an illegal search of your property, your lawyer may be able to suppress any evidence gathered to keep it out of court. Without evidence of growing pot, the prosecutor may have no choice but to drop the charges.
Another defense strategy involves showing the defendant was not the person who was growing marijuana. A roommate or tenant may have been growing marijuana without the knowledge of the other residents or the homeowner. You should not face criminal charges for something you never knew about.
Talk to your criminal defense attorney about defense strategies in your case. The police do not always understand how important medical cannabis can be for patients seeking relief. You should not face a criminal record for doing what's best for your health. Contact a marijuana cultivation defense lawyer for advice.