Given the publicity and medical benefits of marijuana, which is slowly gaining acceptance, I am starting to see more clients charged with manufacturing marijuana, a felony, when they have a small grow operation for their personal use. The significance of “personal use” is vital in defending someone because in South Carolina personal use means that a person should be charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, rather than the more serious felony. To understand the marijuana laws in South Carolina call an experienced Charleston criminal defense attorney who can understands and can explain the difference between manufacturing and simple possession of marijuana.
You need to know the definition of “manufacture”
When you are defending a manufacturing marijuana charge in South Carolina based on a small grow operation for personal use it is critical that you challenge the government and make sure they understand what it means to manufacture marijuana. Importantly, manufacture does not include the growing of marijuana for personal use. Don’t take my word for it, look at the statute that defines manufacture S.C. Code 44-53-110 “Definitions” which states:
“Manufacture” means the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance, either directly or indirectly by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container, except that this term does not include the preparation or compounding of a controlled substance by an individual for his own use or the preparation, compounding, packaging, or labeling of a controlled substance:
What does this mean?
It means that if you are growing marijuana for personal use, then you should only be charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, and not the more serious felony charge, which can carry up to five years in prison.
Defenses to manufacturing marijuana in South Carolina
So how do you show that it’s for personal use if the police say you’re a drug dealer who is growing with the intent to sell? There is no clear answer to this but there are several important factors that can help in your defense.
- How many plants did the police seize? If you have 100 plus plants growing that’s going to be a tough sell that they are for personal use, however if there are a small number of plants that is more consistent with personal use;
- Was there a large amount of cash seized, no money can mean no selling;
- Lack of packaging material (think plastic baggies, scales, grinders),
- No confession (always assert your right to remain silent);
- No phone text messages discussing sales, price, weight etc.;
- No CI buys of your product.
Chalreston Marijuana Possession Lawyer
If you are charged with manufacturing marijuana or any other charge such as possession of marijuana or possession with intent to distribute marijuana (PWID) contact the Dale Savage Law Firm for an experienced criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC. There are many elements of a drug defense that are not discussed in this article such as search and seizure issues, confidential informants, traffic stops, warrantless searches, curtilage etc. which all can be viewed in other blog posts see Can Police Search my cell phone, drug dog at your door is a search, Can police put a GPS on your car, and when can police stop you? Call today at (843) 530-7813 for a free consultation.