Marijuana “grow” operations have become a regular fixture in the criminal courts. One sees everything from the home style operation (spare bedroom in the apartment) to the house converted for such use, or in larger cases “the farm”. The size of the operation in such cases is the primary determinant of the seriousness of the allegation. At the lowest level, where an individual grows for their own consumption and lacks a criminal record, the individual may be eligible for a “discharge” upon a finding of guilt. In the recent case of N, N’s apartment was the subject of a lawful search by firefighters.
There had been a fire in the garage of his building which forced the evacuation of the apartment building. Firefighters, searching for occupants of the building who may have been physically unable to leave the building, stumbled upon the small “grow” in his apartment. The size of the operation was consistent with “personal use”. It was agreed that if N did 50 hours of community service prior to the plea, the Federal Crown would not oppose the imposition of a “discharge” for the offence.
As stated, the larger the “grow” operation the more serious the offence. Ordinarily, any individual who participates in a significant commercial “grow” whether as “gardener” or owner faces a custodial sentence.