In Illinois, the Cannabis Control Act makes it against the law to knowingly produce or possess marijuana plants without authorization (720 ILCS 550/8). If you or someone you care about have been charged with possession of marijuana plants, you should seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Penalties for Marijuana Plant Possession
Convictions for possessing or cultivating marijuana plants carry the following punishments, depending on the number of plants:
- Less than 5 plants (Class A misdemeanor): up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
- Between 5 and 20 plants (Class 4 felony): 1 to 3 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
- Between 20 and 50 plants (Class 3 felony): 2 to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
- Between 50 and 200 plants (Class 2 felony): 3 to 7 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
- 200 or more plants (Class 1 felony): 4 to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
In cases involving over 50 plants, defendants are also required to pay the costs of conducting the investigation and eradicating the plants, with no statutory limit on the cost as assessed by the law enforcement agencies involved.
In addition to the penalties above, drug-crime specific fines are tacked on to each offense. These extra fines are: $300 for a Class A misdemeanor; $500 for a Class 3 or Class 4 felony; $1,000 for a Class 2 felony; and $2,000 for a Class 1 felony. However, they can be converted to community service hours (1 hour equals $4) or commuted if you complete a drug rehabilitation program.
Associated Charges of Paraphernalia Possession
Under the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, the definition of drug paraphernalia includes all equipment and materials intended to be used in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, packaging, or storing cannabis. Often, people charged with marijuana plant possession will also find themselves charged with paraphernalia possession, which is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries a penalty of up to one year of jail time, a fine of up to $2500, or both. In addition, a fine of $750 will be imposed, on top of the usual penalties.
Contact a Chicago Defense Attorney
Although penalties for marijuana plant possession are spelled out by Illinois law, the advice of a local attorney with knowledge of the way that prosecutors and judges might handle your case is invaluable. If you are facing charges for the cultivation or possession of marijuana plants, you need an experienced drug crimes defense attorney to advocate for you. Contact Chicago defense attorney Steven Goldman for a consultation today.