Written by Canterbury Law Group

Types of Drug Charges

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Charges

Federal and state laws make it illegal to cultivate or manufacture illegal narcotics like methamphetamine or marijuana (with limited exceptions for marijuana in certain states). In a criminal law context, drug “manufacturing” happens when a person is involved in any step of the unlawful drug production process. Those who sell specified precursor chemicals, specialist equipment, or just offer to assist in the production of narcotics may also be charged.

Drug manufacture is often charged as a felony, including penalties such as prison time, hefty fines, and probation. Those convicted of manufacturing illegal narcotics near schools and playgrounds might face doubled prison sentences and fines.

Although this article focuses on the criminal accusations of illicit drug cultivation and drug manufacturing, when drug manufacturing is part of a bigger organization, broader RICO charges may be brought.

Elements of the Crime: Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing

Prosecutors must typically prove both possession and intent to manufacture in order to convict someone of making (or intending to create) illegal substances. The tools and materials used to make illegal substances are frequently not considered contraband in and of themselves.

Pseudoephedrine, for example, was previously a popular cold remedy. However, it is also utilized in the production of methamphetamine. Even if authorities discover a package of the now-banned drug in a person’s car, that may not be enough to prosecute for a manufacturing charge. However, if the officer also discovered laboratory equipment often used to make meth in the backseat, it could be enough to justify an arrest.

Similarly, simply having marijuana seeds in your possession does not always imply that you intend to grow them. However, if investigators discover indoor grow lamps and hydroponic equipment, they may be arrested in places where cannabis cultivation is prohibited.

However, having a permit or authority to possess specific items that might otherwise be used to produce illegal substances could be a defense. Pharmacists, for example, have access to a wide range of ingredients that might be used to make illegal narcotics. Furthermore, many chemicals and industrial supplies typically utilized in the manufacture of illegal narcotics may have valid uses that would necessitate the issuance of a permission.

State Versus. Federal Laws on Marijuana Production

While there is little distinction between state and federal drug manufacturing regulations in general, marijuana is an exception. In terms of prosecution and penalties, the federal government treats marijuana growing similarly to the manufacture of other Schedule I substances, but has largely taken a “hands-off” approach to state legalization efforts.

Under federal law, growing less than 50 marijuana plants can result in a five-year jail sentence, or a life sentence if 1,000 or more plants are grown. Individuals in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use or recreational use are not free from federal enforcement, but it is unclear how federal prohibitions would be enforced.

Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but only Colorado allows non-medical users to grow it (six or fewer). States that allow medicinal marijuana usage have different rules about whether (and how much) marijuana can be grown by licensed patients. Patients in Hawaii are allowed to grow up to seven plants, however this is not allowed in Connecticut.

Many sorts of drug offences are covered by federal and state laws. State drug regulations can be stricter if they don’t contradict federal drug laws. Drug charges in federal court normally result in longer terms, although drug charges in state court may result in a shorter sentence or even probation. Having a drug conviction on your record, regardless of the sort of drug offense committed, can have serious ramifications. This page gives an outline of some of the most common drug offenses.


The difficulty with drug paraphernalia is that many of them are constructed to appear as though they were created for legal purposes. Many bongs, for example, have warning labels stating that they should only be used with tobacco. Depending on where you bought the item or how it looks, you could be charged with drug paraphernalia even if it contains a label.


Substance possession laws differ from state to state, based on the sort of drug and the amount involved. Possession of any illicit controlled substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, is, nonetheless, illegal under both federal and state drug laws. Possession of an illegal drug can result in charges of simple possession or possession with the intent to distribute. If you have a modest amount of narcotics, you’ll probably be charged with simple possession, but if you have a substantial amount, you’ll be charged with possession with the intent to distribute and face heavier penalties. The same drug paraphernalia regulations mentioned above may also be applied to a drug possession charge.


Another sort of drug crime is drug manufacturing, which involves any part of the illegal substance’s production process. Under federal and state regulations, the supply of any illicit narcotic is also a crime. In order to prosecute an alleged drug maker, prosecutors must usually prove both intent to manufacture and possession. A drug producer could face fines and prison time if convicted.


Selling, transporting, and importing unlawful controlled substances like marijuana and cocaine are all banned under drug trafficking and distribution regulations. Because it usually entails the transportation of a considerable number of drugs, drug trafficking and distribution is a more serious criminal than drug possession. Having huge amounts of an illegal drug, on the other hand, may cause police to suspect you meant to sell the drugs and charge you with distribution. If you are convicted of drug trafficking, you might face a term ranging from 3 years to life in prison.


The term “drug dealing” refers to the small-scale sale of illegal drugs. It’s vital to keep in mind that the terms “trafficking” and “dealing” are defined differently in different states and under different federal laws. Because drug dealing usually involves a single person selling a little amount of drugs, the penalty is less harsh than selling bigger amounts. Selling less than 50 grams of marijuana can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. This is according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which determines federal penalties for drug dealing and trafficking. A sale of 1,000 kg of marijuana, on the other hand, can result in a sentence of ten years or more.

Are You Being Charged With Growing Weed Illegally? An Attorney Can Assist You

Under federal and state law, drug manufacturing and cultivation are prohibited, but there are several exceptions, as indicated above. Even in states where cannabis cultivation is legal, you still face charges if you break specific rules and restrictions. If you have any further questions regarding the laws in your area, or if you’ve been charged with the offense, you should talk with a local criminal defense attorney to learn more about how the law applies to your circumstance.

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We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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