California Health & Safety Code §11362.2 & §11358 Misdemeanor /Felony
LAW: Cultivation of up to 6 live plants of Marijuana is legal per residence for adults over 21; and you may posses whatever amounts have been previously grown, and harvested (also in the residence).
Note from Bruce: You may want to keep the root-balls as evidence that what you possess is from what you grew from your own plants. Otherwise, outdoor and indoor (over 6 live plants) cultivation is subject to local laws, that can include complete bans and other conditions; i.e. Los Angeles County, have banned outdoor cultivation entirely, while others have local regulations that restrict the amount that can be cultivated and the locations; i.e. secure greenhouses.
Otherwise, cultivation of any amount exceeding 6 live plants is a misdemeanor in most cases, unless you’re a qualified medical marijuana patient or have obtained a local license, or are conforming to local regulations.
Third or aggravated priors of cultivation of over 6-plants, is a wobbler (felony or misdemeanor), punishable by county jail of up to a year, or three years in prison. In addition Felony offenses remain in effect against those who involved minors, caused toxic or hazardous substances, watershed/environment harm, are registered sex offenders, export out of state, export more than 28 grams, or have prior super strike, face 16 months to 3 years, unless probation is granted. (See Penal Code 667 for definition i.e. robbery is not a Super Strike).
PENALTY: For every person 18 years or over who plants, cultivates, harvest, dries, or processes more than six plants sentencing includes probation, and as a condition can include up to 6 months in jail,
a $500 fine, or both (H&S 11358 (c) ). For Persons 18-21 (except qualified patients), illegal cultivation of six plants or less is a $100 infraction. Persons under the age of 21 are subject to lose their driver’s license for one year. For non-citizens (including green card holders), this will result in deportation, exclusion from admission or reentry to United States, and denial of naturalization and amnesty.
PLANTS ALONE MAY BE CHARGED AS POSSESSED FOR SALE: The defense may be able to refute the prosecution’s charge of possession for sale in cultivation cases by using a 1992 DEA Cannabis Yields Study that indicated that (saleable) marijuana buds comprise less than 10% of the total net weight of the plants.
TOO MANY PLANTS FOR DEFERRED ENTRY OF JUDGMENT PROGRAM: Even though possession for sale is not charged, the prosecution may object to DEJ by contending that the cultivation is not for personal use. The defendant is entitled to a hearing before a judge who decides whether or not DEJ or court diversion will be granted over the prosecution’s
objection before trial.
FEDERAL 5 AND 10 MANDATORY SENTENCING LAWS REMAIN: In Federal Courts and in some other states besides California, the number of plants deter mines the length of the sentence. Under Federal law, there is a mandatory sentencing of five years for 100+
plants, and a mandatory sentencing of 10 years for 1,000+ plants, no matter how big or what state they are in (even just rooted seedlings). (See Page 14)
FENCES AS PROTECTION FROM POLICE: Fully enclosed residential yards with 6 foot fences are legally protected from police observation by Case Law. However, if officers can view plants in other ways, such as from a neighbor’s property or from aircraft, they can obtain a warrant for the home and buildings. The existence of Google Maps, as one judge opined in a court hearin, destroys the expectation of privacy.
HIGH ELECTRIC BILLS AND PROBABLE CAUSE FOR A SEARCH WARRANT: Indoor cultivation busts are often the result of unusually large electric bills (com pared to others in the neighborhood) combined with informant tips, and/or the smell detected from out side the property. Electric bills are not constitutionally protected, so they may be obtained without a warrant or probable cause. However there must be persecutive amounts that exceed 6 live plants or 8 grams of hash.
THEFT OF ELECTRICITY: Persons who tap electric lines or bypass electrical metering will also face a felony/wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, punishable by up to 3 years. Wobbler felonies can be charged or reduced to misdemeanors (after a period of probation).
Note from Ed Rosenthal (Ask ED, author-activist) “Using marijuana is not addicting
but cultivating often is.” 🙂