Marijuana Grow Houses
Movies like Pineapple Express and the many adventures of Cheech and Chong catch the attention of a large number of Americans. When these movies feature scenes of giant marijuana growing houses, most people find it amusing – but certainly don’t expect something like that to actually exist, especially where they live. However, many would be surprised to learn that grow houses are not that uncommon in the state of Florida and other places across the country.
A grow house is the name generally used to describe a house or other piece of property, often in a suburban area, devoted to growing marijuana. It may surprise people to learn how many of these grow houses exist in the state of Florida alone. Since 2010, law enforcement in central Florida noted that they had busted more than 700 marijuana grow houses in that area. During those busts, the police said that more than 30,000 marijuana plants were seized. Officials note that often times these grow houses are purposefully staged in seemingly quiet, suburban neighborhoods – where law enforcement would least suspect. However, certain practices associated with the marijuana cultivation activities can give these growers away. Specifically, grow houses generally require excessive amounts of electricity to operate heat lamps and other devices. To avoid detection, operators of grow houses have been known to illegally divert electricity into these grow houses. Unfortunately, attempts to bypass standard electricity meters often cause fires when done improperly.Penalties for Operating a Grow House in Florida
Operating one of these grow houses is a serious crime in the state of Florida. Whether you actually operate the grow house or just live in it, your actions would constitute a second-degree felony in Florida. The crime of being a dweller or resident in a grow house involves being in actual or constructive possession of a grow house with knowledge that the house will be used for trafficking in marijuana, for the sale of marijuana, or for the manufacturing of marijuana intended for sale or distribution. Note that if there are at least 25 marijuana plants in a house, law enforcement officers will presume that there was intended sale of the plants.
The crime of operating or living in a grow house can carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. If a minor was present in the grow house or present during the grow house operations, the crime would be elevated to a first-degree felony, with a punishment of up to 30 years in prison. Owning, renting, or leasing a home knowing that that home will be used to cultivate marijuana is a third-degree felony under Florida law, which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a grow house crime or any other crime involving marijuana in the state of Florida, contact the office of Mark S. Lowry today to discuss your case. Mark S. Lowry is an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who deals extensively with marijuana and other drug cases. Call our office to plan how best to fight the drug charges you may be facing.