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Marijuana Cultivation and Possession with Intent

Although medical marijuana is now legal in Michigan, there are still harsh penalties for growing, selling, or possessing the substance with the intent to sell. Across the state, several municipalities have decriminalized marijuana possession, but even there you can still get charged with felony possession with intent. If you get arrested or suspect that you are being investigated for marijuana cultivation or possession with intent to sell, you should retain the services of an experienced and reliable
Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation and Possession with Intent?

The penalties for cultivating or possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute are governed by section 333.7401 of the Michigan Penal Code:

  • Less than 5 kilograms or 20 plants — 4 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000
  • 5 to 450 kilograms or 20 to 200 plants — 7 years in prison along with a possible fine of $500,000
  • Over 450 kilograms or 200 plants — 15 years in prison and/or a fine reaching $10 million

To obtain a conviction for cultivation or possession with intent, the prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The substance with which you were caught was in fact marijuana
  • You knowingly possessed the marijuana
  • You intended to deliver or sell it to someone

If you get caught with marijuana, yet the prosecutor cannot show that you had the intent to distribute, you may still face harsh penalties for simple possession.

There is a subtle difference between cultivation and possession with intent to distribute charges. In the later cases, the severity of the penalty is determined by the weight of the marijuana you had, not the number of plants. If the authorities find trimmings or filler material in addition to buds, they may charge you based on the total weight of these materials—not just the buds you intended to sell.

If you are a medical marijuana patient, you may face an additional felony charge for distributing marijuana to unauthorized patients. If convicted, you’ll have your medical marijuana card
revoked and receive an additional 2-year sentence on top of your original trafficking sentence.

Federal Marijuana Trafficking Charges

A federal prosecutor will likely take on your case in the following scenarios:

  • You got caught with more than 5 kilos or 100 plants
  • There was a weapon involved
  • You transported the marijuana or intended to transport it across state lines

When you get caught for the first time with 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, or with more than 1,000 plants, your minimum sentence will be 10 years, unless a death or serious injury results from the trafficking, in which case the minimum sentence is 20 years. As for the fines, they can reach $50 million for organizations and $10 million for individuals.

The second offense will result in a minimum sentence of 20 years (or life imprisonment if a death or serious injury results from the trafficking) coupled with a $20 million fine for individuals and a $75 million fine for organizations.

For amounts between 100 and 999 kilograms of marijuana or 100 to 999 plants, a first offense will result in a sentence between 5 and 40 years. When a death or serious bodily injury is at issue, the minimum sentence increases to 20 years. In addition, you may receive a $5 million fine if you are acting alone, or $25 million if you are part of a trafficking ring.

For the second offense, the minimum sentence is 20 years unless there is death or bodily injury, in which case the minimum sentence is life. As for the fines, they increase to $8 million for individuals and $50 million for organizations.

If the prosecutor can show that you knowingly possessed the following amounts with the intent to distribute:

  • 50 to 99 marijuana plants, or 50 to 99 kilograms of buds
  • 10 kilograms or more of hashish
  • 1 kilogram or more of hashish oil

First offenders may receive up to 20 years in prison, or any sentence up to life when death or serious injuries resulted from the trafficking activities. In addition, federal law gives judges the ability to fine $1 million dollar to individuals, and $5 million for organizations.

For second offenders, the prison sentence can reach 30 years. When there is evidence that a death or serious injury resulted form the trafficking, the sentence may be life imprisonment. The fines for individuals may reach $2 million and $10 million for organizations.

If you get caught in possession of:

  • Less than 50 kilograms of buds, or 1 to 49 plants
  • Less than 10 kilograms of hashish
  • Less than 1 kilogram of hashish oil

You may receive up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if you were acting alone, or $5 million if you were part of an organization. If you get caught a second time, you may be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000, or $2 million if you were acting in concert with others.

Fighting Back Against Your Marijuana Cultivation or Trafficking Charges

If you’ve been charged with cultivating marijuana or possession with intent to distribute, you need a skilled Detroit criminal defense lawyer to defend your rights. At Davis Law Group, we can draw on our vast experience of handling drug cases to deploy the following defense strategies:

  • Claiming the evidence against you was obtained illegally — If the police search your home without a warrant, or pull you over without reasonable suspicion, the evidence they find may not be admissible in your criminal trial.
  • Showing you did not have the intent to distribute —The prosecutor will likely use circumstantial evidence to show that you intended to distribute the marijuana, and a skilled lawyer can challenge this evidence.
  • Negotiating for a conviction for a lesser offense — When there is strong evidence against you, obtaining a plea bargain is often the best option.
  • Obtaining a lighter sentence — Judges in Michigan have the discretion to lower a convict’s sentence when there are mitigating factors.

How a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Attorney Maurice Davis began his legal career as a prosecutor, which enabled him to learn how the prosecution builds its cases against criminal suspects. Now he puts this experience to use in defending the rights of the accused. If you’re facing state or federal marijuana cultivation or trafficking charges, call Davis Law Group today at for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

Charged with a marijuana offense? Contact us today.

Your initial consultation will always be free and confidential. Call today or fill out the form below and we will help you.

Attorney Maurice Davis