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.
There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.
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.
Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.
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.
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.
Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.
Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
If you have been arrested or charged for a drugs offence call or email Release for free and confidential advice.
An expert estimated the yield to be between 22 ounces and 66 ounces, with wholesale value up to £15,000.
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.
He told the court: “He has taken this matter extremely seriously. He would take any assistance offered by the Probation Service.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smith, 44, from Gwern Avenue in Senghenydd, Caerphilly, admitted possessing amphetamine and cocaine, two counts of producing cannabis, and two counts of possessing cannabis.
This video explains more about cannabis:
Judge Twomlow said: “It is a long time since he has been in any trouble.”
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.
Gareth James, prosecuting, said: “Cannabis was being cultivated in the basement.”
The court heard Gwent Police executed a drugs warrant at Gwern Avenue in Senghenydd, Caerphilly, on June 28 last year.
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.
Officers also found quantities of cocaine and amphetamine which were consistent with personal use.
Officers found 24 cannabis plants along with plant food, heat lamps, and fans.
Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court Judge Richard Twomlow said it was a small-scale but sophisticated cannabis factory.
He told the defendant: “You seem motivated to address your problems with cannabis which have been long-standing.”
Police said the set-up contained more expensive equipment than they would usually find in a home-growing facility.
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.”
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.
Category range 7 – 10 years’ custody.
the court should obtain a pre-sentence report, whether verbal or written, unless the court considers a report to be unnecessary. Ideally a pre-sentence report should be completed on the same day to avoid adjourning the case.
Category range 12 weeks’ – 18 months’ custody.
One or more of these characteristics may demonstrate the offender’s role. These lists are not exhaustive.
Starting point 6 years’ custody.
However , this factor is less likely to be relevant where the offending is very serious. Where an offender has used their good character or status to facilitate or conceal the offending it could be treated as an aggravating factor.
When an immediate custodial sentence is necessary, the court must consider whether proper arrangements have been made for the care of any dependent children and if necessary consider adjourning sentence for this to be done.
Immaturity can also result from atypical brain development. Environment plays a role in neurological development and factors such as adverse childhood experiences including deprivation and/or abuse may affect development.
For class A cases, section 313 of the Sentencing Code provides that a court should impose an appropriate custodial sentence of at least seven years for a third class A trafficking offence except where the court is of the opinion that there are particular circumstances which (a) relate to any of the offences or to the offender; and (b) would make it unjust to do so in all the circumstances.
Statutory aggravating factors:
Effective from: 01 October 2019.
Category range 2 years 6 months’ – 5 years’ custody.
Starting point 8 years 6 months’ custody.
The court will be assisted by a PSR in making this assessment.
The court should consider the following factors to determine whether it would be unjust to impose the statutory minimum sentence;
Starting point 18 months’ custody.
In addition when sentencing an offender who is pregnant relevant considerations may include:
Unjust in all of the circumstances.
Category range 4 – 8 years’ custody.