The San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that four men have been arrested in Arizona for growing more than 12,500 marijuana plants on federal property located in the northwestern part of the state. This was apparently a huge operation, involving not only thousands of plants, but also an irrigation system that included generators, pumps and plastic lined reservoirs. The reservoirs were camouflaged with debris and vegetation. The bust and clean-up were conducted by the United States Bureau of Land Management, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies. The feds had been tipped off by local hunters.
When we viewed the article, it occurred to us that this is going to be prosecuted as a federal offense, since it occurred on federal land, and our readers might be interested in the potential sentence in the event one or more of these men are convicted, and a rough comparison with a similar crime under the statutes of our state.
Under Arizona law, of course, the crime would be the production of over four pounds of marijuana, since “production” under section 13-1401(29) means to “grow, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, process or prepare for sale.” This would be a class 3 felony, and while prison time might be likely, its duration would probably be limited to a few years, absent other factors.
Federal law, however, is different, and in this case markedly different, than state law. The charge under federal law is the production of marijuana where the amount of marijuana involved weighs 1,000 kilograms (just over 2,200 pounds) or more, or consists of 1,000 or more marijuana plants. The penalty under federal law, even absent any enhancements, is 10 years to life in prison, plus a maximum fine of up to $4million dollars. The minimum is mandatory, and parole is not an option during the ten year period. And you thought Arizona law dealt harshly with marijuana!
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense under Arizona law or under federal law, contact a Phoenix marijuana lawyer to protect your interests.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004