Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.
It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.
The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a ‘trafficking’ offence, which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.
Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.
The severity of the penalty applied in relation to cultivation of cannabis will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The prosecution consider the size of the operation, the individual’s role in said operation & certain mitigating factors. The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences outlines the range of sentences available for cultivation of cannabis cases:
Penalties available for cultivation of cannabis.
Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.
There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.
If you have been arrested or charged for a drugs offence call or email Release for free and confidential advice.
When he was interviewed Smith accepted he was a “heavy user” of cannabis and claimed he smoked 50 or 60 joints a day. He said he was growing it for himself.
Mr James said the average user smokes between 1g and 5g a day, with a heavy user smoking 5g, and his explanation was not sufficient for the quantities being produced.
Judge Twomlow said: “It is a long time since he has been in any trouble.”
A man caught growing cannabis plants told the police he smoked 50 or 60 joints a day and claimed it was all for personal use.
An expert estimated the yield to be between 22 ounces and 66 ounces, with wholesale value up to £15,000.
Officers found 24 cannabis plants along with plant food, heat lamps, and fans.
Prosecutors said they had not reached full maturity and were estimated to produce a yield between 24 and 72 ounces, worth between around £4,000 and £15,000.
The court heard Gwent Police executed a drugs warrant at Gwern Avenue in Senghenydd, Caerphilly, on June 28 last year.
Mr Mitchard said Smith had been seeking help, although that support had been limited by the pandemic, and he was hoping to return to face-to-face meetings soon.
The court heard Smith admitted there was a second property involved in nearby Commercial Street.
Smith was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 10 days of a rehabilitation activity. He must pay £100 towards prosecution costs.
Nicholas Smith admitted he was responsible for cultivating 46 plants – some in a basement and others in the attic of a nearby flat in Caerphilly.
This video explains more about cannabis:
The judge said the pre-sentence report was “encouraging”, adding: “It seems to me he is trying to address the problems of addiction to cannabis that have beset him for a very long time.”
He told the court: “He has taken this matter extremely seriously. He would take any assistance offered by the Probation Service.”
Police dismantled the facility at Gwern Street and found the plants were healthy and in the early stages of flowering at nine to 10 weeks old.
Ed Mitchard, defending, asked for any prison sentence to be suspended rather than immediate. He stressed his client cooperated with the police and was “very forthright” with officers by indicating there were plants at the second address.
Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court Judge Richard Twomlow said it was a small-scale but sophisticated cannabis factory.
The court heard he had 31 previous offences on his record but none for producing drugs. He was last before the court in 2004 for benefit fraud.
Smith, 44, from Gwern Avenue in Senghenydd, Caerphilly, admitted possessing amphetamine and cocaine, two counts of producing cannabis, and two counts of possessing cannabis.
Gareth James, prosecuting, said: “Cannabis was being cultivated in the basement.”
He told the defendant: “You seem motivated to address your problems with cannabis which have been long-standing.”
Officers also found quantities of cocaine and amphetamine which were consistent with personal use.
Officers went to Commercial Street and found another 22 plants in the attic with evidence other rooms had been used or were going to be used for cultivation.
Police said the set-up contained more expensive equipment than they would usually find in a home-growing facility.
The judge made an order for the cannabis plants, growing equipment, cannabis leaf, cannabis oil, amphetamine, and cocaine to be destroyed.
Xhemal Derdi, 24, Ismail Elezi, 26, and Alfred Alla, 21, were each jailed for 39 months.
The cannabis farm, capable of producing drugs worth millions of pounds, was discovered after police raided an industrial unit in Boston.
Officers uncovered the farm on 26 March, describing it as "the largest scale cannabis grow the county has ever seen".
Passing sentence, Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight said: "The cannabis grow discovered by the police that day was industrial in scale.
"It was a professional enterprise. The electricity was bypassed, there were hydroponics and ventilation fitted [and] balsamic vinegar was being used to mask the smell.
The men, all of no fixed address, admitted production of cannabis and were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court also heard part of the building had been set aside as living quarters for the men involved with growing the plants.
The court heard a total of 2,985 cannabis plants were found in four rooms, with the electricity supply having been bypassed.
Police arrested Derdi after entering the building in the Fishtoft Road area of the town and then found Alla hiding in the ventilation ducts. Elezi was found after officers later returned to the building.
Nearly 3,000 plants were found at the unit after it was raided in March.
"The street sale value of the cannabis at the lower estimated yield would have been £800,000. The higher estimated yield would have produced a value in the millions of pounds."
Kaja Reiff-Musgrove, prosecuting, said: "This was an industrial scale cannabis grow. The estimated yield is between 79 and 239 kilos.
The court also heard the men, who had entered the country illegally from Albania, would face deportation when they were released.
"You were obviously aware and knew of the scale of the operation. You were working for financial gain," she added.