Growing, selling and importing marijuana is very popular in Austin. It requires little specialized training, and the financial benefits are attractive. With the trend of legalization in some States, many believe that they can’t get into trouble. They are very wrong.
If you are growing and/or selling marijuana in Texas, there are a number of things that can lead to you getting arrested: Informants, traffic stops, search warrants, excessive electrical consumption, drug dogs, suspicious grow-house activity, being tailed from the hydroponic store or head shop, and many, many others.
Even though it’s “just pot,” when you get into the larger quantities, you can quickly be looking at prison time. If it goes federal, it gets much worse.
If you are a grower, the police will weigh the plants right after the bust. Since fresh plants are relatively heavy at this time, it is easy to push even small operations into the Third Degree (2-10 year range).
If you are making hashish, which most growers do, it’s very easy to find yourself charged with a Second Degree Felony (2-20 year range). This is because hashish has the same punishment range as cocaine.
Many growers also collect keef from their operations. Although it is not formally hashish, A.P.D. forensic scientists consider it to be hashish because there is no associated plant matter in it.
In addition to hashish and keef, any substance containing THC (other than marijuana) is classified the same as hashish, keef or cocaine. This means brownies, cookies, oil, etc. One of our recent cases involved a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and olive oil that our client kept his trimming scissors in. Since THC had leached into the liquid, they charged him with a THC-containing-substance. He was looking at 15-99 for that jar of liquid alone—even though it was unfit for human consumption (because it contained isopropyl alcohol). Fortunately, we were able to get that charge dismissed.
Intent to deliver is another common issue in marijuana growing cases. This allegation will also enhance the range of punishment one level (i.e. it enhances a State Jail Felony to a Third Degree; a Third Degree to a Second Degree, etc.). This enhancement can easily push a grower up to a First Degree Felony (5-99 year range). To prove this enhancement, police normally rely on evidence such as large amounts of cash, units prepackaged for individual sale, ledger books, and scales.
Asset forfeiture is another big issue with growers. Large amounts of cash that you can’t explain are going to be forfeited. If proceeds from marijuana sales are commingled with legitimate income, it is all subject to forfeiture—legitimate income too. Sometimes all or part of the cash can be recovered, but that is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you own your grow house, they can even forfeit your house. We have even seen them forfeit the cars in the driveway and even pets. The feds are especially difficult about asset forfeiture.
If you find that you are the subject of an investigation, don’t think you can help yourself by talking to an agent who makes you vague promises. They are not in it to help you. Don’t talk to your friends on jail phones either—the calls are recorded. If you ask friends to collect drug related debts for you while you are in jail, your friends can get indicted for conspiracy. Call us immediately and say nothing.
Beating large-scale marijuana cases require deep, specialized knowledge of the law relating to these issues. We have that knowledge. Our success list relating to this type of case is long, but our clients value their anonymity. We make it a policy not to represent informants.