Cultivation of any controlled substance in the United States is a very serious offense that can result in a felony conviction and a prison sentence. In Michigan, cultivation of fewer than 20 plants can result in a fine of $20,000 and up to four years in prison, or both. There are many types of drugs that can grow naturally and, therefore, be cultivated for processing, distribution, and possession. These controlled substances include opium (heroin, morphine, codeine), blue agave for moonshine, coca leaves (cocaine), Ephedra sinica (sudafed and meth), psilocybin mushrooms, and sassafras root (ecstasy), among others.
Cultivating any scheduled controlled substance on federal property, such as a national park or public place, can result in federal drug cultivation penalties, which are often more severe than state cultivation penalties. Often, in this case, there are also mandatory minimum sentences without the possibility of parole. If you’ve been charged with cultivation drugs on federal property, it is essential to acquire the legal representation of an experienced and prominent federal criminal defense lawyer.
Michigan is a fairly large state with world-renowned federally protected property, ranging from the beautiful Isle Royale National Park to our numerous national forests and federal wildernesses. The U.S. Forest Service owns over 3 million acres of substantially pristine national forests and wilderness. With all this space, marijuana and other drug growers have found substantial space to set up operations. For example, in 2011, 3,000 marijuana plants in a forest in Michigan were linked to drug trafficking groups. If you are cultivating controlled substances on federal property, you may be charged by U.S. Park Police or other federal agents, such as the DEA or ATF.
This means that, even if you have a medical marijuana growing license, you cannot grow in national parks. Because marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, state laws for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana do not supersede the federal ones in the national park system.
Because cultivation on federal property is a federal crime, being convicted of this offense can result in criminal prosecution by the U.S. Government, as opposed to the State of Michigan. Federal charges of cultivation carry more stringent and harsher penalties, often resulting mandatory minimum sentencing if there is a guilty conviction. The federal government regulates marijuana cultivation through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811).
Specifically for cultivation on federal property, the Act (under § 811 (1)(b)(5)) states that anyone convicted of cultivation on federal property may face imprisonment and fines. In general, the level of punishment depends on several factors, including the quantity and Schedule of the intended drug. For example:
If you’ve been charged with cultivating a controlled substance on federal property, you may be facing severe penalties, extensive prison time and fines, and the lifelong consequences of being a felon. As such, the decision for an experienced drug cultivation attorney may be one of the most important you’ll come across. At Grabel & Associates, we’ll use the full extent of state and federal laws as well as diligent investigation techniques to uncover all elements about the alleged crime, and when it comes to the court, we’ll aggressively defend your case using a no-stones-unturned approach. For a free consultation with Grabel & Associates, 24/7, call our Lansing office today at 1-800-342-7896.