Law enforcement officials in Hayward are calling the 44,000 square foot grow house they discovered a ‘marijuana factory.’ This is, perhaps, due to the fact that they managed to confiscate approximately 13,000 plants, valued at about $15 million, at the location on Diablo Avenue. Three different men, ranging in age from 21 to 28, were arrested on charges of felony marijuana cultivation and felony marijuana sales.
Although California has somewhat reasonable laws when it comes to the personal use and possession of marijuana (it is merely an infraction to possess 2.5 grams or less and the penalty is a mere $100 fine), state penalties are, conversely, far harsher when it comes to illegal cultivation. Barring laws that allow for the cultivation of a small number of marijuana plants allowable for medical marijuana patients, their caregivers, and grow cooperatives, the cultivation of any amount of marijuana is considered a felony in the state of California.
The California Health and Safety Code 11358 (‘marijuana cultivation’) deems it illegal to participate in any part of the process of growing a marijuana plant, including preparing it for use. Furthermore, you need not actually plant, harvest, cultivate, or process marijuana to be considered guilty of this crime. For example, if you own the property on which marijuana is being cultivated, and are aware of its presence, you could be considered in violation of this law. If you are found guilty of a first offense related to marijuana cultivation, you are likely to spend anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in a county facility.