Though it is
not illegal to buy, possess, or trade cannabis seed,
it is illegal to posses, sell, produce or import the
drug in any form. The courts are allowed to prescribe
a custodial (prison) sentence for any of these crimes.
There are recommended bands with regards to the harshness
This information is only meant
to be a guide and one thing we strongly recommend
is that you DO NOT GROW MARIJUANA FOR COMMERCIAL
When a defendant appears in court, he will be faces the prosecution
team. It is their job to make his crime appear to be as serious
as possible and to present as much evidence against him as
is humanly possible. They will not be shy of making out the
case to be worse than is really is on the basis that he will
be doing the opposite.
The judges take each case individually to a certain extent
but there are laws, guidelines, precedents that help him or
her decide. The main factors are as follows:
Size Of The Operation
This is obvious but what is "small"? The simple
answer is as small as possible. This means you should
grow as few plants as you can in as small a space as
you can. From reading many case histories it appears
that 5 plants (all other factors being amenable) or
less is the upper limit to be reasonably confident of
avoiding a prison sentence. However if you had a conviction
for possession in your past or any one of about 20 other
factors this still might not keep you on the outside.
The judge considers the potential so it is wise to keep
the actual growing area down to the size you need and
no more. It is usually safer to grow 3 largish plants
than 20 Sea of Green ones. You can never be sure what
figures the expert witness will come up with. They may
well assume that all 20 were to be grown to 5 feet and
then you are in serious trouble.
• Avoiding Continuous
The Sea of Green system may work well but it is a legal
headache if you get caught. It immediately alerts the
authorities that you have a planned venture and intend
to keep doing it - i.e. you are intending to continuously
break the law. It is far safer to grow say 3 plants,
take 3 cuttings when they go into flower and then flower
the cuttings when ready. This way you only have 3 plants
and 3 cuttings or at worst 6 plants. Having a mother
with plants all a various stages of development is dangerous.
• Keeping It Simple
Somewhat bizarrely, judges take a dim view on what they
term as "sophisticated" set-ups. This includes
all hydroponics methods, timers, fans, pH meters, Sun-Circles/Shuttles,
EC meters, pumps, ozone generators, exhaust fans, special
nutrients, chemicals, CO2 and pretty much anything electronic
or automated.Time and again, the sophistication of set-up
is mentioned and used as evidence to quash appeals.
This is a real (and typical) quote "The operation
was highly sophisticated and in essence concerned the
growth of cannabis in a forced atmosphere of water and
artificial light known as hydroponics, which produced
the yield much quicker and stronger than of the plants
in earth." What the court thinks is sophisticated
is common practice to the average pot grower in the
21st century. Practical suggestions include: disguising
your special nutrients in more common bottles like tomato
feed or similar, hiding/disguising/throwing grow books
and magazines, using garden-center equipment/materials
when remotely possible (e.g. clone in vermiculite and
not rock-wool), use white paint instead of Mylar and
• Avoiding Detection
Obviously everyone who grows pot wants to avoid detection
but things like false doors, ozone generators and infra-red
shielding all go against the defendant if actually caught.
Individual growers would need to balance what is necessary
to avoid prosecution altogether and what will happen
if it doesn't work.
Courts nearly always give out harsher punishment to
people who commit crimes in groups. Their reasoning
is that collusion infers a greater degree of planning
and deception, which they don't like! So if you didn't
have enough reasons to keep EVERYONE out of it and your
mouth shut then here is another.
• Involvement Of Minors
This does not need to be a Fagan style city-wide-drugs-in-Pokemon-cards
dealing syndicate to get you into deeper trouble. In
the cases we studied, the likelihood of the defendant's
children accidentally stumbling on the grow and apparently
immediately having their innocence taken from them,
was definitely seen to be a negative factor.
• Evidence Of Financial
This is a big subject. It covers anything from simple
selling your weed to selling your grow kit to renting
a flat to a grower. Needless to say you should not make
a single penny out of your grow. If you don't actually
commit this aspect of the crime then it will be hard
(but not impossible) for the prosecution to prove you
did. Never keep any more than a few days worth of cash
in the house. A £2000 stack of used £20's
that you were going to buy a car with may well be turned
into the "seedy profits of underworld drug dealing".
Selling or even giving drugs to friends is a very bad
idea. Admitting to it is an even worse one.
• Evidence Of Previous
& Future Grows
You should not hold stocks of any materials that could
be deemed to be of use in your grow. For instance, if
the police were to uncover 50 used plant pots and a
200 liter sack of vermiculite, perlite and 50 new pots
in your shed, you are likely to have any claims that
this grow was a "one off" laughed out of court.
And once you have been caught lying to the police or
worse still the court then you are two steps closer
• How Good You Are
Another bizarre finding, but our research suggests that
the strength of the weed and your perceived expertise
in the subject will go against you. You would be well
advised to keep your knowledge to yourself. Here is
a typical quote: "It was the prosecution case that
Owen had used his scientific expertise to set up the
factory. The Crown relied on evidence that he had brought
hydroponics equipment between December 1992 and March
1994 while he was living at the cottage"
Convictions For Similar Offences
This is not cannabis specific. All sentences are given
in consideration of your previous behavior. If you have
been caught growing once already, then you are almost
certain of receiving a prison sentence. N.B. Crimes
not related to growing or drugs are also considered.
• The Defendants Social,
Marital, & Work Status
In general the more upstanding and "normal"
you are the better. The more you have to lose the less
they will be inclined to take it away, especially if
children are involved. A young up-and-coming city trader
is likely to get a lighter sentence and reduced custodial
times than an unemployed guy who organizes free dance
festivals. Appalling but true.
• The Defendants Attitude
Towards Cannabis & It's Production
This is a point often overlooked by the cannabis community.
With the widespread nature of cannabis books, magazines,
Internet sites and with famous people and politicians
all talking about cannabis consumption with greater
and greater openness, it is easy to fall into a false
sense of security. The laws have not changed so quickly
and the number of people prosecuted for cannabis offences
is rising, not falling. Your opinions on the current
state of cannabis's place in society, the waste of police
time and the morality of the drug-culture are not only
irrelevant but actually highly damaging. The courts
realise that people must respect their authority even
when it is morally incorrect. This is demonstrated by
the unusually harsh sentences received by "people
who take the law into their own hands" and start
beating up the local joy-riders. It is essential that
you do not under any circumstances give the impression
that you think the laws are unjust or worse still, question
the authority of the judge. These comments were mentioned
in a number of appeal cases and were shown to go against
the defendant, partially on the basis that it suggests
that they will not be truly repentant.
If you are arrested it appears to be important that
you appear to be repentant right from the start. You
need to walk the fine line between giving the police/court
evidence that they didn't have and appearing to be obstructive.
For instance, when the police ask you to say something
you could say that you don't understand the meaning
of the rights read to you and you would like to consult
a solicitor before saying anything stupid. And that
you are very sorry for doing so etc.
If a defendant's demeanor throughout the process is
that of a nice guy/girl who liked a bit of a smoke,
grew a few bag seeds in a basic set-up, got caught,
immediately snapped back to reality and realize the
errors of his ways and would in no way ever do the same
thing again....then he/she is likely to get a relatively
• Medical Matters
With the press coverage of medical usage of cannabis
(or marijuana if you need some alliteration in your
headline!) this has become a hot issue. For the cultivating
defendant it is a tricky one. Although their sentencing
policies may make them appear to be stupid, Judges are
usually highly intelligent. They know that the medical
defense is going to be used by virtually everyone who
appears before them for cultivation. They are forewarned
and forearmed. Our research showed that medical de fence
was useful but only if backed up with firm evidence.
Typically people were treated with leniency and even
got off (via a jury decision mostly) if they were ostensibly
infirm, had a serious illness and were old. Defendants
turning up to court saying that they were growing for
an old knee injury do not do themselves (or the medical
cannabis cause) and favors. There are plenty of books
and articles on this subject but suffice it to say that
the defendants did well to inform their doctors of their
self-medication and get his agreement that it could
be of benefit.
• And Finally
People talk about their growing set-ups with pride and
encourage you to get the latest chemical or piece of
kit. They may suggest that small garden cannot produce
good weed. The whole idea of talking openly about your
illegal activities over an open communication system
might lead you to believe that things are not as bad
as they seem. Unfortunately they are actually worse.
If you are merely growing weed with just 10 plants in
perlite/hydro under a 1000W HPS you could be facing
a 4-6 month prison sentence even if they believe your
personal use story. Would your boss, wife, girlfriend,
her parents, your parents all understand?
Legalise Cannabis Alliance - 22 Apr, 03.