Marijuana growing is a commonly used term for an Illinois criminal offense called unlawful marijuana production. In this context, the term production refers to the cultivating, harvesting, planting, or tending of marijuana plants. Even though Illinois legalized marijuana for recreational use, the process of growing or producing marijuana plants remains a regulated activity. Any person who disregards these legal requirements can face criminal charges for unlawful marijuana production.
What is the Illinois Definition of Unlawful Marijuana Production?
The Illinois definition of unlawful; marijuana production appears at 720 ILCS 550/8. Under this section, there is a general prohibition against the production or possession of marijuana plants. To qualify as a criminal offense, the alleged perpetrator must know — or have a reason to know — that they were involved in the unlawful production or possession of marijuana plants.
In addition, Section 8 establishes several exceptions to unlawful production crimes. Since the state legalized marijuana for recreational use, there are now guidelines for the lawful production and possession of marijuana plants. But unless authorized under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act or the Industrial Hemp Act, production or possession of marijuana plants remains largely illegal in Illinois.
What is the Illinois Punishment for Unlawful Marijuana Production?
Section 8 also furnishes the Illinois punishment for unlawful marijuana production. Under this section, unlawful production or possession of:
- Fewer than six marijuana plants — Is a civil offense punishable by a fine between $100 and $200;
- Between six and 20 marijuana plants — Is a Class 4 felony punishable by imprisonment for one to three years and fines up to $25,000;
- Between 21 and 50 marijuana plants — Is a Class 3 felony punishable by imprisonment for two to five years and fines up to $25,000;
- Between 51 and 200 marijuana plants — Is a Class 2 felony punishable by imprisonment for three to seven years and fines up to $100,000; or
- More than 200 marijuana plants — Is a Class 1 felony punishable by imprisonment for four to 15 years and fines up to $100,000.
The fines for unlawful marijuana production offenses go to various sources, including:
- Circuit clerk to defer the costs of automatic expungement;
- Law enforcement agency that issued the citation to investigation, eradication, and potential expungement;
- County Treasury to provide drug addiction services;
- Office of the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor for training purposes;
- State’s Attorney’s Office;
- State Police Operations Assistance Fund; and
- Conservation Police Operations Assistance Fund.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.