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Health & Safety Code 11358 HS – California Marijuana Cultivation Laws

Updated September 27, 2020

Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that defines the crime of illegal cultivation of marijuana. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail.

Since the passage of Proposition 64 it is now legal for:

  • persons 21 years of age and older,
  • to grow up to six marijuana plants for recreational use.

Per HS 11358, it is an infraction if someone aged 18-20 cultivates marijuana. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $100.

The statute also says that:

  • it is a misdemeanor if a person 21 or older,
  • grows more than six hash plants.

Cultivating marijuana is punishable by:

  • custody in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a fine of up to $500.

Examples

  • a 20-year-old growing pot in his basement.
  • someone 35 years old cultivating 10 marijuana plants for recreational use.
  • an older couple growing eight weed plants in their home.

Defenses

A defendant can beat a charge under this statute with a legal defense. Common defenses include:

  • no marijuana,
  • hash belonged to someone else, and/or
  • unlawful search and seizure.

In regards to medicinal marijuana, patients and their caregivers may cultivate up to:

  • six mature marijuana plants,
  • 12 immature plants, or
  • a greater amount consistent with the patient’s reasonable needs.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will answer the following key questions in this article:

1. When is it legal to cultivate hash for recreational use?

Since Proposition 64, it has been legal to grow marijuana for recreational use. This is provided that both of the following are true:

  • the grower is aged 21 years or older, and
  • he cultivates no more than six cannabis plants. 1

The following restrictions also apply:

  • a cultivator must follow any applicable local ordinances, and
  • a person can grow no more than six plants at a single private residence.
  • spouses or partners sharing a residence,
  • can cultivate no more than six plants total.

This is opposed to six plants each. 2

Unless local law permits otherwise, a person must grow weed:

  • indoors or on the premises of his private property,
  • in a locked space, and
  • where the plants are not visible from a public place. 3

The term “cultivate” means to do any of the following:

  • plant,
  • cultivate,
  • harvest,
  • dry, or
  • process

any marijuana or any part thereof. 4

2. What are the penalties for the unlawful cultivation of marijuana?

A person that unlawfully cultivates this drug may:

  1. face criminal penalties under Health and Safety Code 11358,
  2. receive drug treatment, and
  3. petition for resentencing under Proposition 64

2.1. Penalties under HS 11358

It is an infraction under this law if someone aged 18-20 grows weed. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $100. 5

This statute also says that it is a misdemeanor if:

  • a person 21 or older,
  • grows more than six plants.

The crime is punishable by:

  • custody in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a fine of up to $500.

Cultivation laws call for felony penalties in certain situations. This is when people cultivate more than six plants and:

  • have a serious violent felony on their record,
  • are registered sex offenders,
  • have two or more prior convictions under HS 11358, and
  • violate certain environmental laws in their cultivation activities. 6

Felony penalties are punishable by:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to three years, and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000. 7

2.2. Drug treatment

Per Penal Code 1000 PC, some people convicted of unlawful cultivation may:

  • post-pone any sentence imposed,
  • in order to attend and complete drug treatment.

This is known as “deferred entry of judgment (DEJ).”

A person is eligible for DEJ if:

  1. he was arrested for the cultivation of excessive weed, and
  2. he is a non-violent first- or second-time offender.

2.3. Re sentencing under Proposition 64

Cultivation laws were harsher prior to Proposition 64. Fortunately, this initiative allows people convicted under prior cultivation laws to apply for:

  • resentencing, or
  • the dismissal of any charges.

The court is supposed to:

  • presume that a defendant meets the criteria for resentencing, and
  • grant resentencing unless it would create a risk to public safety.

3. Are there immigration consequences?

A simple conviction under this statute will not have negative immigration consequences.

Sometimes a conviction in California can result in a non-citizen being either:

The unlawful cultivation, however, is not one of these offenses.

4. Does a conviction affect gun rights?

A simple conviction under HS 11358 does not negate a defendant’s gun rights.

California law says that some criminal convictions will cause a defendant to lose:

  • his right to own a gun, and
  • his right to possess a gun.

A conviction under this statute, though, does not produce these results.

5. Are there defenses to accusations of unlawful cultivation?

A defendant can beat a charge under these California marijuana laws with a legal defense.

Three common defenses that criminal defense lawyers rely on:

  1. no marijuana,
  2. hash belonged to someone else, and/or
  3. unlawful search and seizure.

5.1. No marijuana

HS 11358 only applies to the cultivation of marijuana. This means it is always a valid defense for a defendant to say that:

  • even if he was growing something,
  • the plant was not pot.

5.2. Hash belonged to someone else

An accused is only guilty under this statute if:

  • he personally cultivated
  • an excessive amount of weed.

He cannot be guilty for someone else’s actions. Therefore, it is a crime for a defendant to show that the drugs in question were not his.

5.3. Unlawful search and seizure

Authorities cannot conduct a search or take property without a valid search warrant. If no warrant, then they must have a legal excuse for not having one. If the police:

  • gather evidence from an unlawful search and seizure,
  • then that evidence can get excluded from a criminal case.

This means that any charges in the case could get reduced or even dismissed.

6. Can a person get a conviction expunged?

A person convicted under cultivation laws can get an expungement.

This is true, however, only provided that the defendant completes:

  • probation, or
  • a jail term (whichever is applicable).

An expungement frees a defendant from many of the hardships associated with a criminal conviction. 8

7. What about cultivating medicinal marijuana?

California’s “Compassionate Use Act of 1996” (the “CUA”) applies to the medicinal use of marijuana. The Act’s provisions are set forth in Health and Safety Code 11362.5 HS.

Under the CUA, the following people can legally grow hash for medicinal use:

  • people who use marijuana with doctor approval to treat a serious medical condition,
  • primary caregivers to such patients, and
  • members of medical marijuana collectives (also known as “dispensaries”). 9

Medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers may cultivate up to:

  • six mature plants,
  • 12 immature plants, or
  • with a doctor’s recommendation, a greater amount consistent with the patient’s reasonable need. 10
  • if a person is charged under HS 11358,
  • but is really exempt from the law under the CUA,
  • then the person has the burden to prove the reason for the exemption in order to escape prosecution. 11

8. Are there related offenses?

There are three crimes related to the unlawful cultivation of pot. These are:

  1. simple possession of marijuana – HS 11357,
  2. possession of hash with intent to sell – HS 11359, and
  3. selling marijuana – HS 11360.

8.1. Simple possession of marijuana – HS 11357

After the legalization of marijuana in California in 2018, adults age 21 and over can possess:

  • up to one ounce of dried weed, or
  • eight grams of concentrated cannabis (hashish).

Possession laws are set forth in Health and Safety Code 11357 HS.

8.2. Possession of hash with intent to sell – HS 11359

  • anyone other than a licensed dispensary,
  • to possess pot with the intent to sell it.

People who sell marijuana without a license (i.e., on the “black market”) violate Health and Safety Code 11360 HS.

8.3. Selling marijuana – HS 11360

  • selling,
  • giving away,
  • importing into the state, or
  • transporting for sale

any amount of marijuana or concentrated cannabis (hashish) without a state license.

Note that a criminal law exception exists for:

  • the transportation of weed,
  • by California medical marijuana users of pot for their personal use.

For additional help…

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group for a free consultation. Our law office creates attorney-client relationships throughout the state, including Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Orange County, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Beverly Hills, Riverside, Pasadena, Glendale, and more.

For information on marijuana cultivation in Nevada and Colorado, please see our articles on:

Legal References:
  1. California Health and Safety Code 11358 HS.
  2. California Health and Safety Code section 11362.2 HS.
  3. See same.
  4. California Health and Safety Code 11358 HS.
  5. See same.
  6. See same.
  7. See same.
  8. California Penal Code 1203.4 PC.
  9. California Health and Safety Code 11362.5d HS.
  10. California Health and Safety Code 11362.77. As to “reasonable need,” see also People v. Trippet (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 1532.
  11. People v.Mentch (2008) 45 Cal.4th 274.

California Health and Safety Code Blog Posts:

Updated September 27, 2020 Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that defines the crime of illegal cultivation of marijuana. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. Since the passage of Proposition 64 it is now legal for: persons 21 years of age and older, .

Updated September 27, 2020 Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that defines the crime of illegal cultivation of marijuana. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. Since the passage of Proposition 64 it is now legal for: persons 21 years of age and older, .

Updated September 27, 2020 Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that defines the crime of illegal cultivation of marijuana. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. Since the passage of Proposition 64 it is now legal for: persons 21 years of age and older, .

Updated September 27, 2020 Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that defines the crime of illegal cultivation of marijuana. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. Since the passage of Proposition 64 it is now legal for: persons 21 years of age and older, .

Health and Safety Code 11358 HS is the California statute that punishes the illegal cultivation of marijuana.

Cultivation of Marijuana

In Allegheny County and throughout western Pennsylvania, people frequently cultivate marijuana plants and with the recent signing of the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill, this may seem like a relief to marijuana growers. But it is important to remember that while the new medical marijuana law allows patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions to access the drug, the medical marijuana must be purchased from an authorized dispensary. Therefore, if you are found with marijuana plants even if the crop is just for your own use, it can still cause serious legal problems.

If you grow marijuana in your basement or garden, and the police charge you with the cultivation of marijuana, you will need to retain a defense attorney who is knowledgeable in the current marijuana laws.

The Number of Marijuana Plants That Can Get You Arrested

You can be arrested for growing even one marijuana plant. The severity of the penalties you face will vary depending on the quantity of your plantings.

How a Marijuana Charge Can Harm You

If you are caught growing two to 10 pounds of marijuana, or 10 to 21 plants, you risk one year in prison and $5,000 in fines for a first offense. For a second offense, you can face two years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

If you cultivated 10 to 50 pounds, or 21 to 51 plants, you can draw three years in prison and $15,000 in fines for a first offense.

If you have previously been convicted of any other drug, controlled substance, or marijuana cultivation offense in the past, the minimum mandatory penalties increase upon sentencing. A second offense is punishable by a $30,000 fine and a minimum prison sentence of four years. You could face even greater fines depending on how much money you made from the illegal marijuana cultivation.

Other possible consequences of a marijuana cultivation conviction:

  • You will have a criminal record that can negatively affect your ability to find a good job, maintain current employment, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school.
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense and two years for a third offense.
  • You may be unable to obtain a federally subsidized student loan or other forms of financial assistance for education programs.
  • If you share custody of your children, a marijuana conviction could be damaging to your custodial agreement and you might lose some of your rights to see your kids.

Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged

Marijuana charges as considered criminal offenses, and it’s best to have an experienced Pittsburgh marijuana defense attorney on your side to help you navigate the complexity of the legal process around these cases. Your attorney can help evaluate the evidence being brought against you by the Commonwealth and assess what can and cannot be used to prosecute you. It’s also important to have an attorney who understands how to fight these types of cases and work toward maintaining your rights by drawing on prior experience and an in-depth understanding of the Pittsburgh criminal system.

Your marijuana lawyer will go over what happened both before and after your arrest. Importantly, he or she will assess whether there was probable cause to charge you with a crime. This includes determining if the marijuana plantings really belonged to you.

Questions? Contact me.

Your rights are at stake and you need the best defense to keep them. I will fight using the strongest defense available to get your Cultivation of Marijuana charge reduced or dismissed so you can move on with your life.

A marijuana cultivation charge could lead to years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted. Call or text us today: (412) 219-6300.