Florida Marijuana Grow Houses on The Rise

Florida Marijuana Grow Houses on The Rise

The Florida economy has slowed and jobs have become scarce. The recession has led to a surprising trend in criminal behavior. Law enforcement has made an increased number of marijuana cultivation arrests. The combination of few employment opportunities, a large number of abandoned and foreclosed homes, and the continued demand for marijuana has resulted in a drastic increase in marijuana grow houses.

In response, law enforcement has stepped up its seizure of evidence at suspected marijuana grow houses. Officials have added more resources in an effort to answer community complaints of suspected grow houses. The additional law enforcement officers are now investigating areas where these suspected grow houses are located and conducting what is known as a “knock and talk.” In some circumstances, law enforcement is conducting long-term surveillance to determine the depth of the operations.

The widespread use of hydroponic techniques has allowed the grow houses to produce vast amounts of marijuana very quickly and with little oversight. The use of hydroponics, while increasing production, also creates a huge red flag for law enforcement in the way of enormous power bills from the use of indoor grow lamps. The high power consumption is just another factor that allows law enforcement to build their case establishing the existence of a suspected marijuana grow house.

In previous times, marijuana grow house charges were a relatively rare allegation. With the insurgence of new arrests for grow houses, the Florida legislatures and state prosecutors have taken a much tougher stance to try and rid the grow house operations in Florida and to address the public outcry for a greater crackdown of the drug houses.

While a typical cultivation of marijuana charge is a third-degree felony, the charges can quickly escalate to a second-degree felony or even a first-degree felony. Several years ago, the Florida legislature updated the law to clearly state that any grow operation of 25 or more marijuana plants was evidence the marijuana was intended for sale or distribution.

An investigation leading to an arrest for operating a grow house is bad enough. The situation can grow worse if the cultivation operation includes 300 or more marijuana plants elevating the offense to a first-degree felony for drug trafficking. We all know what a plant is, but Florida law is very specific in providing a legal definition for a marijuana plant. It is defined as seeding or cuttings with noticeable “root formation.” Dead or harvested marijuana plants are also figured into the total plant count by law enforcement. Florida drug trafficking charges carry minimum mandatory prison sentences upon a conviction.

Not all grow house operations are created equal and neither are all drug crime defense attorneys. Our Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco County criminal defense attorneys know how to defend these charges. We are on the cutting edge of judicial rulings pertaining to all search and seizure issues to make sure our clients have every legal option available to them. We investigate all aspects of your case to make sure law enforcement followed the current law. Protect yourself and your rights, call the marijuana grow house defense attorneys at the Rooth Law Group today.

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