Marijuana laws have been changing around the country, and Pennsylvania is no exception to that trend. Most recently, Pennsylvania made national news when licenses were issued to twelve companies to grow marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana program. These twelve companies are the only businesses or individuals who can legally grow marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. Even those who receive doctor recommendations and state medical marijuana permits are not permitted to grow marijuana in their homes or elsewhere. Doing so is still a felony under Pennsylvania state law.

Some people may think it is worth the risk to try growing marijuana anyway. Patients in the medical marijuana program may not be able to afford the prices at dispensaries, or they may be unable to wait until the retail storefronts open to access medical cannabis. Others may simply be hoping to get started in the increasingly legal and potentially lucrative world of legal marijuana. After all, you have to practice for years to fully master a complex skill, like expertly growing any kind of plant. Whatever the reason, if you get caught, you’ll be facing felony charges and stiff penalties.

Marijuana cultivation can cost you a lot

Marijuana cultivation, even on a small scale in your own home, could end up costing you a lot. If law enforcement finds out about your marijuana garden, you will face felony charges. Any number of plants, even one, results in a felony charge that carries between one and five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The more you have, the harsher your likely sentence. You’ll also be saddled with a criminal record that includes a felony drug offense. That will make it much harder for you to obtain work or even housing when you finish your sentence.

You may think that pleading guilty could help you obtain a lesser sentence, but it could cause major issues as well. A drug conviction will also preclude you from receiving federal student aid, if you were hoping to go to college. In most states with legal marijuana industries, those with previous felonies or drug convictions are often precluded from working in the industry. As if that wasn’t bad enough, your home, bank account and even vehicle could get seized through asset forfeiture if law enforcement claim you used them in or funded them with your illegal activities.

Fighting cultivation charges

If you or someone you love is facing felony marijuana cultivation charges, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. After hearing the details of your case, your lawyer can help you determine your best options for a rigorous defense.