While some states allow growing marijuana and the private use and sale, North Carolina is not one of those states.
In North Carolina, marijuana is considered a Schedule VI substance, which means that is has a low potential for abuse, but it is illegal to possess, sell, or manufacture.
If you are growing marijuana on your property, and you are caught doing so, you could be charged with multiple criminal offenses, including possession with intent to distribute. These punishments include fines, jail time, and a permanent tick on your criminal record.
What Charges Could You Face for Growing Marijuana?
1. Possession for Personal Use
It is illegal to possess marijuana, even for personal use.
If you are arrested with less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana, you will likely face a Class 3 misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of $200. Typically, this misdemeanor has a suspended jail sentence. However, if you have 0.5 to 1.5 ounces, you will be elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor, and you could spend one to 45 days in jail and pay a maximum discretionary penalty of $1,000.
One full ounce or more, but less than 10 pounds, is a Class 1 felony. A Class 1 felony is punishable by three to eight months in prison and a discretionary fine.
2. Possession with Intent to Distribute
Depending on the volume of marijuana growing on your property, you might face an intent to distribute charge. Possession with intent to distribute is a serious offense. If you have 10 pounds or more marijuana on your property at the time of arrest, you will be charged with a Class 1 felony, which includes three to eight months in prison and a discretionary fine.
There are more serious penalties for intent to distribute, too. If you have a full manufacturing farm in your backyard, you are more likely to face:
- 10 to 50 Pounds: Class H felony with minimum 25 months in prison and fine of $5,000 minimum.
- 50 to 2,000 Pounds: Class G felony with minimum 35 months in jail and a minimum penalty of $25,000.
- 2,000 Pounds to 10,000 Pounds: Class F felony with minimum 70 months in jail and a minimum penalty of $50,000.
- 10,000+ Pounds: Class D felony with minimum 175 months in jail and fine of minimum $200,000.
When growing marijuana on a private residence, you could be charged with cultivation. Punishment for cultivation is like possession with intent to distribute, starting at a Class 1 felony and going up to a Class D felony in penalties.
Being Convicted of Cultivation Can Affect You the Rest of Your Life
Not only could you face the charges mentioned above, but if you were promoting marijuana sales to a minor or having a minor help with growing the marijuana, you could face serious felony charges.
Regardless, a misdemeanor or felony conviction will be on your record the rest of your life and could affect your ability to get a job, secure a residence, and qualify for state financial services.
It is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest. The team at DeMent Askew can help you or a loved one facing charges related to growing marijuana.
Contact our offices now at 919-833-5555 to schedule a no-obligation meeting with a lawyer, or inquire online.