In Los Angeles, state law allows you to grow a small amount of marijuana for personal use. However, there is a hard limit of 6 plants per person. If you are accused of growing more than this, you can be arrested and convicted for “marijuana cultivation.” Marijuana cultivation carries the possibility of serious jail time, even if it’s your first offense and even if you have no previous criminal record. Don’t allow your arrest to ruin your life. Talk to a Los Angeles marijuana cultivation lawyer and fight the charge.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we have the experience and knowledge to win cases. We believe marijuana should be fully decriminalized, and we do not believe the current laws are just or fair. No matter what the circumstances surrounding your arrest, we’re here for you. We will listen to you and we will take your side—and fight for you. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
Why is growing marijuana still illegal in Los Angeles?
California’s marijuana laws have changed a lot—and become complicated. Previously, growing any amount of marijuana was a criminal offense under a law known as HS 11358. Then in November 2016, the voters of California passed Proposition 64, legalizing marijuana for personal recreational use. Proposition 64 also amended the old HS 11358 so that individuals could grow small amounts of marijuana.
Under the new law, growing marijuana is legal if:
You are 21 years of age or older, and
You grow 6 or less plants, for purely personal use
If you grow more than that, or if you grow and sell it/give it away without a license, it remains illegal.
However, these new laws also have to make exceptions for California’s longstanding medical marijuana rules. Under those rules, anyone with a valid medical marijuana card may grow:
Up to 6 mature marijuana plants,
Up to 12 immature plans, or
A larger amount with a doctor’s recommendation…
…for personal medical use only
Confused? You’re not alone. People routinely fall afoul of California’s marijuana cultivation laws—even if they thought what they were doing was legal.
Is is true that marijuana cultivation can be a felony in Los Angeles?
Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. Most cases are misdemeanors. You will only be charged with the felony version of marijuana cultivation if one of these factors applies to you:
You have two or more prior convictions for marijuana cultivation,
Your cultivation broke certain environmental laws (such as growing in a protected nature area),
You have a past conviction for a violent felony, or
You are a registered sex offender.
If any of these apply to your case, you should expect a felony proceeding which is much more serious. However, even the less serious misdemeanor version of marijuana cultivation carries jail time.
What are the penalties for marijuana cultivation in Los Angeles?
The penalties for the misdemeanor version include:
Up to 6 months in county jail, and
A fine of up to $500
The felony penalties include:
Either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail
A fine of up to $10,000
Convicted felon status. This is likely to affect your ability to get a job and carries a lifelong ban on owning firearms.
How can I stay out of jail?
California does offer an alternative to jail for many marijuana cultivation offenders. This is through a program called “drug diversion” which tries to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of jail.
You may be eligible for drug diversion if:
This is your first or second offense for cultivation
You are a nonviolent offender (did not assault an officer during arrest, etc.)
Your grow was only for personal use, not for sale
Under those circumstances, you may qualify to have jail time “deferred” and attend drug treatment instead. If you complete treatment successfully, you will still serve out the rest of your probation but your jail time will be waived.
The only downside of drug diversion is that you have to plead guilty to receive it. This is better than jail, but it still leaves a conviction on your record. In many cases, it’s better to fight the charge. You do not have to face any jail time—or other penalties—if you win your case.
Is it possible to beat a “marijuana cultivation” charge?
Absolutely. In fact, these cases are often based on weak evidence or show signs of a potential illegal search by police. If we can get even some of the evidence thrown out by the judge, it could mean getting your charge reduced to something much less serious—or even winning your case outright.
Some of the possible defenses for marijuana cultivation charges include:
The marijuana was not yours. (You did not plant it, or the area it was in is co-owned with other people.)
You didn’t know it was there.
You didn’t know what it was. Marijuana can grow wild even in someone’s garden without their knowledge, or other people could drop off potted plants without explaining what they are.
You need the marijuana for medical reasons—and a doctor recommended that you need more than the 6 mature plants allowed by law. (Or, you need to grow more in order to harvest enough actual marijuana for your condition, because of local soil/growing conditions.)
There isn’t enough evidence—or there are legal problems with the evidence against you and it can be suppressed (thrown out).
Illegal search and seizure. Officers must follow very strict laws in conducting searches. If they broke these laws, the evidence they turned up may be inadmissible.
Depending on your case, one of these defenses could be enough to win in court or get the prosecutor to simply drop the charges. However, the law is complex and simply claiming one of these defenses isn’t enough to win. You should talk to a good lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Marijuana Cultivation Lawyer for Free
One conviction for marijuana cultivation can follow you for years. You need to fight it. Let the Simmrin Law Group give you a FREE consultation—and help you defend yourself. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.