Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Man Caught Growing Marijuana in Front Yard

Illegal marijuana growers come in many types. Some operate carefully constructed indoor farms, complete with sophisticated hidden rooms equipped with hydroponic materials utilizing all sorts of advanced growing techniques. Then there are people on the other end of the spectrum, like Bryan Hartman, who was arrested for growing 17 plants of marijuana in his front yard.

According to Osceloa County, Florida, police, Hartman's front yard forest had marijuana plants as tall as seven feet. Authorities said the plants were easy to see from the roadway, The Associated Press reports.

It is unknown whether Hartman has an attorney (but if not, he should get one, post haste.)

There isn't much else to add to the story. We could point and laugh at Bryan Hartman, but it seems almost too easy. Instead, let's take a look at the laws involving marijuana cultivation and why, despite many people's conceptions, remains a serious crime.

Under federal and state law, it is not only illegal to possess controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack, heroin, PCP, LSD, ecstasy. It is also a serious crime to grow or create the drugs, or to obtain the chemicals used to make the drugs (known as "precursor" chemicals. Finally, possession of the equipment used to manufacture drugs is also illegal.

The severity of the penalty varies depending upon the state involved, as well as the sophistication, scope and size of the operation. In many states, any marijuana cultivation is treated as a felony. In the case of growing 17 plants, like Hartman, the star of this story, you're definitely looking at felony charges.

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