On Saturday September 14, law enforcement officers from the Santa Paula Police Department seized more than two dozen marijuana plants. According to officials, officers from the Santa Paula PD received information about possible marijuana cultivation at a residence in Palm Court. Shortly after 11:00 a.m., officers arrived on scene and discovered a total of 26 plants in the backyard. Officials contacted the resident who then cooperated as all plants were removed. The resident has not been charged and the case is currently under review with the Ventura County Attorney's Office.
While little else is known about this case, it does serve to highlight several notable aspects about marijuana drug crimes in Los Angeles and California. For one, there is the possibility that the resident is a medical marijuana patient, which would give him the right – under state law – to grow a limited amount of plants. Whether or not others in the residential home possessed a valid medical marijuana license may also weigh heavily into the case, as the amount of plants may possibly exceed the permitted limit.
Aside from the various circumstances that surround this case, the fact does remain that while law enforcement agencies are beginning to become more lenient in regard to drug crimes involving small amounts of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana is still considered a serious offense. Currently under California law, cultivation of any amount of marijuana – without a valid medical marijuana license –is a felony offense punishable by up to three years in prison. Penalties may also increase depending on an individual's prior criminal history and the amount of plants found.
If anything is certain, it is that marijuana is caught in a legal gray area and is illegal under federal law. While recent statements from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General reveal that America may be shifting toward leniency in marijuana drug crime cases, there is nothing to show that more serious drug crimes – including cultivation, sales, and distribution – will be handled less seriously by officers and prosecutors. This being the case, individuals charged with marijuana cultivation, or any other marijuana drug crime, should be intent on working with experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyers capable of protecting their future.
If you or someone you care about is currently facing criminal allegations for marijuana cultivation, do not delay in contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP. Complete a case evaluation form or call toll-free (800) 462-7160 or local (800) 462-7160.