Mark M. Cheser 35 Years of Criminal Defense Experience
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Growing marijuana in New Jersey can cost you your freedom

The social stigma associated with marijuana use, sales and cultivation have decreased in the last decade. As more states decriminalize or overtly legalize adult recreational use of marijuana, people become more open to it. You may not have thought that growing a few plants in your garage, garden or basement was a big deal. Then law enforcement showed up. Maybe they arrived because of a nearby crime, or perhaps someone noticed your plants and called to report you. Regardless of why they are there, if law enforcement find marijuana plants on your property, you can expect criminal charges.

New Jersey courts and law enforcement still take marijuana offenses very seriously. While possession of small amount of marijuana for personal use are only "disorderly person" charges, cultivation charges are all criminal offenses. That means that you could face steep penalties and a lifelong criminal record just because you decided to grow a few marijuana plants.

Penalties for growing marijuana are steep

You may think your marijuana garden wasn't a big deal. Maybe you only had a couple plants or a couple dozen. If you didn't intend to sell the marijuana to anyone else, you may think the courts will be lenient. Chances are that they won't be. Even if you only have one plant in your possession, you're facing a mandatory minimum sentence of three years but possibly up to five years in prison, as well as $25,000 in fines. Anything up to ten plants or under five pounds falls in this category. For those with between 10 and 50 plants, the penalties get more serious.

Growing between 10 and 50 plants (less than 25 pounds) carries a mandatory five year sentence, which could be as long as ten years. It also comes with a fine of $150,000. For those with more than 50 plants or 25 pounds of marijuana, the penalties include at least ten years in jail but as many as 20, as well as a fine of $300,000. The fines alone could take years to pay off. If you're facing marijuana cultivation charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can explore your defense options

Working with an attorney who understands New Jersey drug laws can help you. Maybe there was an issue with how you were arrested or how the warrant was obtained. Perhaps you qualify for pre-trial intervention if you have no criminal record. You could face reduced charged and receive substance abuse counseling and probation instead of jail. The best hope for a positive outcome to this situation comes from retaining the help of an attorney who will fight for your future and freedom.

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