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Ohio Rev. Code 2925.04 makes it a crime to knowingly cultivate marijuana in the state. Marijuana is defined in Ohio Rev. Code 3719.01 as all parts of the cannabis plant, including its seeds and resin extract, but excluding its mature stalks, fiber made from mature stalks, and compounds or derivatives from mature stalks, except for resin which does count as marijuana. The plant is indigenous to Asia and grows in hot areas around the equator. It is not native to Ohio and does not naturally grow in the state. The dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa can be used as a mind-altering drug, or in some states for medical purposes such as pain relief.
The plant can be grown indoors or outdoors, and the flowers, buds, seeds, and stems harvested for use as marijuana. The legal definition of cultivation includes planting, watering, fertilizing, or tilling the cannabis plant. Marijuana grow operations can be complex and involve the use of irrigation, lighting, and heating systems to get the plants to grow and flower. Common places where grow operations are found include residential basements, sheds, greenhouses, trailers, or fields.
Grow operations can include anywhere from a few plants for personal use to acres of plants cultivated for trafficking. Cultivation is a crime regardless of the number of plants. Even a single plant could result in a conviction, although the penalties vary based on the amount of cannabis being grown.
To be a crime, cultivation must be knowing under ORC 2925.04. That means a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the plant was cannabis in order to convict you.
Cultivation of marijuana can be a minor misdemeanor or a serious felony. Similar to other drug offenses, the severity of the offense and the resulting penalties depends on the amount of pot involved.
Statutory penalties can include jail time and/or fines. Additionally, you face a possible driver’s license suspension and possible suspension of your professional license if you practice as a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, or other licensed professional.
When you’re convicted of cultivating marijuana, jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension are just the beginning of how a drug conviction can affect your life. A conviction for any form of the offense can result in a lifelong criminal record. Having a drug conviction on your record creates a stigma that can prevent you from getting a good job or renting a nice place to live.
If you’re a college student or thinking of going to school, a drug conviction may prevent you from being accepted into school, and it definitely is a barrier to getting federal financial aid such as grants or student loans.
Drug convictions also may prevent you from getting approved for an immigration visa, green card, or citizenship, and can result in deportation if your legal immigration status changes because of the conviction, or you’re in the country without a visa or green card and get arrested.
If you’ve been charged with growing cannabis, an experienced Columbus defense attorney who reviews the facts of your case may spot any number of possible defenses available to you. It could be that the prosecutor just doesn’t have enough convincing evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were illegally cultivating pot plants. It could be that there are problems with the way the evidence was collected, or with how police went about investigating or arresting you.
A criminal defense attorney can look at the evidence and the prosecutor’s arguments and make a case for why you shouldn’t be convicted, or negotiate for a reduced charge and lighter penalties.
A couple of defenses that may be available when you’re charged with cultivation of marijuana include:
Some other common defenses to drug charges include:
A cultivation conviction can impact your life in many negative ways ranging from prison time to expensive fines to inevitable damage to your reputation. If you have been charged, a Columbus defense attorney can be an asset to protecting your rights and helping you avoid the maximum penalties. Call Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free legal consultation at or email us via email@example.com. We are available 24/7 to help you.