Drug cultivation is a type of drug crime involving the growing of plants that are classified as controlled substances.  This usually refers to the illegal growing of plants like marijuana, opium, and other types of intoxicants or hallucinogenic plants. 

Drug cultivation laws are usually classified under or alongside with drug manufacturing laws.  For example, most “drug cultivation and manufacturing laws” make it illegal to:

  • Grow, produce, or possess plants with naturally occurring substances that are used in the production of illegal drugs and controlled substances; and
  • Produce illegal substances such as cocaine which are derived from plants

Is Drug Cultivation the Same as Drug Possession?

Not necessarily- cultivation of drugs usually involves some element of possession, since the person must possess the substances in order to cultivate or grow them.  However, cultivation of drugs is usually a more serious charge than possession.  This is because cultivation of drugs is often linked to an intent to distribute the drugs or substances.  On the other hand, possession of a drug doesn’t always mean that the person is intending to distribute the substances. 

What are the Legal Penalties for Drug Cultivation?

Simple possession of drugs can sometimes result in minor misdemeanor charges, punishable by criminal fine and a jail sentence of less than one year.  In comparison, possession or cultivation with the intent to distribute is sometimes charged as a felony, and punishable by higher fines and a prison sentence of longer than one year. 

What Type of Evidence is Needed to Prove Drug Cultivation?

In order to prove drug cultivation, it’s usually necessary to prove that: 1) the suspect had the physical materials and substances used in cultivating drugs; and 2) the person intended to cultivate the drugs for an illegal purpose and without legal authorization. 

Thus, if the police search a person’s home and find opium seeds, electric growing lights, and plants in large quantities, it may be strong evidence of cultivation drugs with the intent to distribute. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Questions or Legal Issues Involving Drug Cultivation?

Drug cultivation charges are among the most serious types of criminal charges.  They are often linked with other types of crimes, such as distribution of drugs.  If you have any legal inquiries or concerns involving drug cultivation, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.  A lawyer can help answer any questions you may have, and can represent you in court during trial if necessary.