Maybe it’s just because I’m a criminal defense lawyer, but I hear a lot of the same argument when it comes to marijuana: “But it comes from the earth!” or “But it’s just weed!”
True enough: Marijuana is indeed a plant that can be cultivated wherever there is a little patch of green outside or with the help of an indoor growing operation. And perhaps to some, in the hierarchy of drugs, marijuana is on the bottom rung.
This is what people don’t get: Even though you probably can grow it, you should know that it is still illegal to do so. And the penalties for growing pot are perhaps more steep than one might realize.
I think when folks picture the people who get jail sentences for growing marijuana, the image in their mind is of a huge growing operation with hundreds of plants and an intricate processing system.
Not so much.
Just ask Bradley Elkins, 33, of Gilbert, West Virginia.
West Virginia police arrested and charged the dude with six counts of cultivating marijuana after someone called officers with a tip that they could see the plants growing alongside his trailer – yes, allegedly visible from a public roadway.
So what if Elkins is found guilty? Fine? Jail? Yes and yes.
Now, brace yourself. If found guilty, he could be forced to pay as much as $150,000 in fines. The potential jail sentence? Anywhere between six and 90 years.
Just another example of how, even though many states are moving to legalize medical and even recreational marijuana, we have to follow the rules in the states in which we live.
And if you live in West Virginia, the marijuana laws are serious.
I know – I’m a West Virginia criminal defense attorney who represents clients who have been charged with everything from possession of marijuana to selling marijuana.
It goes without saying: If you’re in a jam on a marijuana-related crime, call me.