Are you being investigated or prosecuted for the cultivation of cannabis? Being convicted of such a serious offence could result in a lengthy prison sentence, so don’t leave your freedom to chance. Our specialist cannabis cultivation solicitors are here to provide advice and protect your legal rights.
It is not illegal to supply cannabis seeds in the UK. However, it is illegal to germinate and grow them. It does not matter whether you intend to manufacture and sell cannabis or not.
At Conspiracy Solicitor, we are a team of expert criminal defence solicitors who specialise in defending individuals across the UK from drugs offence charges involving the production, cultivation, and supply of drugs.
We regularly represent individuals who have been arrested or are facing investigation or prosecution for cultivating cannabis. Our team includes qualified police station representatives and court advocates so we are able to support you at every stage of the criminal justice system.
We are members of the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme which is only awarded to law firms with the highest level of skill in this area. With us on your side, you have the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome, whether that is getting the investigation dropped, achieving an acquittal at court, or achieving a lower sentence than you were originally facing.
Call 07711 627048 at any time 24/7 for urgent police station representation.
How our cannabis cultivation solicitors can help you
If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged in connection with cannabis cultivation or production of a controlled drug, we are here to help.
We understand that facing criminal legal action can be frightening and stressful. You may have been arrested or invited to the police station for interview without warning, or you may have been charged with cultivation when you believe that you should have only been charged with possession. Our role is to guide you through the confusing criminal justice process and take all possible steps to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
This could include:
- Attending the police station at short notice to provide advice during interviews
- Representing you during the investigation (e.g. protecting your rights if the police want to search your home for evidence)
- Representing you during court proceedings at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court
If you have already received legal advice from another firm but are not happy with their representation, we are also happy to take over your legal representation to give you a better chance of receiving the outcome you need.
Take a look at our guide to transferring your case to Conspiracy Solicitors for more information.
Police station representation for cannabis cultivation
If you or someone you know has been arrested and taken to the police station or invited to voluntarily attend the police station for interview under caution, get in touch with us as soon as possible for advice.
When accused of a criminal offence, many people want to rush through the police station stage so they can get bail and go home as quickly as possible. However, your police station interviews are arguably the most important part of the process, even if you are there voluntarily.
Anything you say or do while under caution at the police station can be used when deciding whether to charge you or as evidence during a prosecution. Saying the wrong thing could mean the difference between the investigation being closed and you being charged. So, it is essential to have someone by your side who knows exactly how to answer the police’s questions and can protect your legal rights.
Our team include qualified police station representatives who can come to the police station to represent and advise you, even out of hours and at short notice. Just ask to call Bird & Co Solicitors in Grantham to get one of our team on your side.
For more information about what happens at the police station, visit our Police Station Representatives page.
Our previous successes
- R v M & A – we secured acquittals for 2 individuals accused of producing cannabis on a commercial scale after the police executed a search warrant
- R v I – we secured a suspended sentence for an individual accused of producing cannabis on a commercial scale, a crime which often attracts long prison sentences.
What is cultivation of cannabis?
Cultivation of cannabis is the criminal offence of caring for cannabis plants, including nurturing them, feeding them and watering them.
It is a ‘production’ offence under section 6(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
What is production of a controlled drug?
Production of a controlled drug is the manufacture, cultivation or another method of producing a controlled drug (i.e. a drug which is restricted by law, including Class A, Class B and Class C drugs such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis).
‘Any other method’ can have many meanings, for example, it could mean stripping cannabis plants to separate parts that can be smoked. Converting a drug into a different form can also be production.
To be convicted of production of a controlled drug, the prosecution must be able to prove:
- That the controlled drug was being produced
- That the suspect was involved in the production process (e.g. providing premises where the drug was produced)
- That they were aware that the controlled drug was being produced.
Production of a controlled drug falls under section 4(2)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. There is also an offence of being concerned in the production of controlled drugs under section 4(2)(b) of the Act.
What is the difference between cultivation of cannabis and the production of a controlled drug?
Cannabis cultivation is technically covered under the production of controlled drugs offence, however, it is also a stand-alone offence.
You cannot be charged with both cultivation of cannabis and production of a controlled drug.
The main difference is that production of a controlled drug can fall within the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) 2002 as a ‘lifestyle offence’ which allows the court to take action to recover money and property where the suspect has benefited financially from their criminal conduct.
The prosecution will usually take into account all the circumstances to decide whether to charge you with cultivation of cannabis or production of a controlled drug. For example, where there is evidence that the offence is part of a serious organised criminal endeavour with cannabis being produced on a large scale for commercial supply, a charge of production of a controlled drug may be considered more appropriate. However, where the cannabis cultivation was on a small scale with no evidence of ongoing supply, a charge of cultivation of cannabis may be more suitable.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will take into account factors such as the suspect’s mental and physical health, and whether it is likely that the offence will be repeated.
However, once the prosecution believes that the offence has gone beyond cultivation and that the suspect is preparing parts of the cannabis plant for consumption or supply, this activity would fall more within the remit of production of a controlled drug.
Are there any defences to cannabis cultivation?
Under section 28 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is a defence to cannabis cultivation (as well as other drugs offences involving possession, production and supply) if you can show that:
- You neither knew, suspected, nor had reason to suspect that the cannabis was being cultivated
- You neither believed, suspected, nor had reason to believe that it was cannabis that was being cultivated
- You believed the product not to be a controlled drug, which had it been that drug, would mean that no offence would have been committed (i.e. you believed the controlled drug was lawful for you personally to possess)
Can the police search your home for cannabis plants?
Typically, the police may only search your home if they have your permission or a search warrant, or where delaying a search to obtain a warrant would likely defeat the ends of justice.
What is the sentence for cultivation of cannabis?
Cannabis cultivation is a ‘triable either way’ offence which means that you could be sentenced in either the Magistrates’ Court (where the maximum sentences are limited) or the Crown Court (where the maximum sentences are often unlimited).
The exception to this is if you are also charged with a third drug trafficking offence, for which the minimum sentence is 7 years – these offences will always be tried in the Crown Court.
Cannabis is a Class B drug, for which the maximum sentence is 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
Cannabis cultivation sentencing guidelines
When deciding how to sentence someone for cultivation of cannabis, the court will take into account:
The offender’s ‘culpability’ – whether they took a leading role, significant role or lesser role in the offence
The harm caused – based on the class and quantity of the drug involved
Where the offence is on a serious and commercial scale, involving vast quantities of drugs, sentences of at least 20 years in prison may be appropriate, depending on the offender’s role.
The bigger role a person takes in cannabis cultivation, the higher the level of culpability (blameworthiness).
Leading role – this is the highest level of culpability. Characteristics may include:
- Directing or organising production on a commercial scale
- Significant links or influence on others in a supply chain
- Using business as a cover
- Expectation of substantial financial gain
- Abusing a position of trust or responsibility
Significant role – characteristics may include:
- Having an operational or management function within a chain
- Using pressure, influence, imitation or reward to involve others
- Being motivated by financial gain or another advantage
- Having some awareness of the scale of the operation
Lesser role – characteristics may include:
- Being under direction and having a limited function
- Being pressured, coerced or intimidated
- Being exploited or involved through naivety
- Little to no influence on those above them in the chain
- Little to no awareness of the scale of the operation
The level of harm is split into categories 1-4, depending on the quantity of drugs involved. Offences involving cannabis can come under all 4 categories:
Category 1 – operation capable of producing industrial quantities for commercial use.
Category 2 - operation capable of producing significant quantities for commercial use
Category 3 – 28 plants (assumed yield of 40g per plant).
Category 4 – 9 plants (assumed yield of 40g per plant).
Starting points and sentence ranges
After determining the level of culpability and category of harm, the court will use a ‘starting point’ to reach a sentence within prescribed category ranges. The starting point applies to all offenders, regardless of their plea or any previous convictions. The sentence will be adjusted within the category range according to other aggravating and mitigating factors.
The class of drug involved also affects the sentence range.
For example, for a Category 1 offence involving a Class B drug where the offender had a leading role, the starting point is 8 years’ custody with a category range of 7 to 10 years’ custody.
For a Category 2 offence involving a Class B drug where the offender had a significant role, the starting point is 4 years’ custody with a category range of 2 years, 6 months to 5 years’ custody.
For a Category 4 offence involving a Class B drug where the offender had a lesser role, the starting point is a ‘Band C fine’ and the category range is Discharge to a Medium Level Community Order.
The full category ranges can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website.
Mitigating and aggravating factors
When the court has worked out the starting point sentence, they will take into account mitigating and aggravating factors to decide the final sentence within the corresponding category range.
Examples of aggravating factors include:
- Previous convictions
- Committing the offence while on bail
- The scale of the operation
- Involving children or vulnerable people
- Using weapons, where not charged separately
Examples of mitigating factors include:
- Being pressured, intimidated or coerced
- No previous convictions
- Feelings of remorse
- Having serious medical conditions
- Being the primary carer for dependant relatives
Part of our role as your cannabis solicitor is to make representations on your behalf during sentencing, for example, highlighting mitigating factors and aiming to get the sentence reduced.
Get in touch with our cannabis production solicitors
Call 07711 627048 at any time 24/7 for urgent police station representation.