In the UK, conspiring to produce cannabis is a crime, just as producing cannabis is, and you could be jailed for up to 14 years if you are caught. If you are charged with this offence, get legal advice straight away. This article explains what conspiracy to produce cannabis is, how it is committed, and what the possible sentences are. It also discusses whether first-time offenders are likely to be jailed. If you or someone you know has been charged with this offence, there is help available. At the end of this article, you’ll find information on where to get more support.
What is the offence of conspiracy to produce cannabis in the UK?
The offence of conspiracy to produce cannabis in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is when two or more people agree to work together to grow cannabis plants, either to sell or to use themselves.
- Section 4(2)(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act states that it is an offence to produce or attempt to produce a controlled drug in contravention of section 4(1) of the Act. Section 4(1) of the Act states that it is an offence to supply or attempt to supply a controlled drug to another person. Cannabis is a controlled drug, so conspiring to produce cannabis for the purpose of supply is an offence under section 4(2)(a) of the Act.
- Section 6(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act states that it is an offence to cultivate any plant of the genus Cannabis in contravention of subsection (1) of the Act. Subsection (1) of the Act states that no person shall cultivate any plant of the genus Cannabis, subject to any regulations under section 7 of the Act for the time being in force. There are no such regulations in force at the present time, so conspiring to produce cannabis for personal use is also an offence under section 6(2) of the Act.
To be convicted of conspiracy to produce cannabis, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- That two or more people agreed to work together to grow cannabis plants.
- That the agreement was to produce cannabis plants either for the purpose of supply or for personal use.
- That the agreement was made with the intention of carrying it out.
It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that any cannabis plants were actually grown, or that any cannabis was actually supplied. It is enough to prove that the defendants agreed to grow cannabis plants and that they intended to carry out that agreement.
What are some examples of conspiracy to produce cannabis offences in the UK?
Here are some examples of conspiracy to produce cannabis offences in the UK:
- Two people agree to rent a property together and grow cannabis plants in it.
- A landlord agrees to rent a property to a tenant knowing that the tenant intends to grow cannabis plants in it.
- A group of people agree to work together to set up and run a cannabis farm.
- A person supplies cannabis seeds or equipment to another person knowing that the other person intends to use them to grow cannabis plants.
- A person provides financial assistance to another person knowing that the other person intends to use it to grow cannabis plants.
What happens if you are suspected of committing conspiracy to produce cannabis in the UK?
If you are suspected of conspiring to produce cannabis in the UK, you could face serious consequences. Here is a general overview of what could happen:
- Investigation: The police or other specialist law enforcement agencies – like drug squads – may investigate you if they have reasonable grounds to believe that you are involved in a conspiracy to produce cannabis. This investigation could involve surveillance, gathering evidence, and interviewing you.
- Arrest: If the police have enough evidence, they could arrest you. You will be informed of the reasons for your arrest and your rights.
- Questioning: The police may question you about your involvement in the conspiracy. You have the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during questioning.
- Charges: If the evidence is strong enough, you could be charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis. You will be given a charge sheet that outlines the allegations against you.
- Court Proceedings: You will have to appear in court and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, you will go to trial.
- Trial: The trial will take place in a Crown Court because this is an indictable offence. The prosecution will present evidence against you and you will have the opportunity to present a defence. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced.
- Sentencing: The penalties for conspiracy to produce cannabis vary depending on the scale of the operation and other factors. Penalties could include imprisonment, fines, or both. For smaller-scale operations, sentences may be less severe.
- Confiscation Orders: In some cases, the court could issue a confiscation order that requires you to forfeit any assets or profits that you gained from the conspiracy.
If you are suspected of conspiring to produce cannabis, it is important that you secure legal advice immediately. An experienced criminal defence solicitor can help you understand your rights and options, and can represent you in court (if it comes to that!)
What is the sentence for an offence involving a conspiracy to produce cannabis?
The sentence for conspiracy to produce cannabis in the UK will depend on a number of factors, including the scale of the operation, the role of the offender, and whether or not the cannabis was intended for supply. The maximum sentence is 14 years in prison, but first-time offenders are unlikely to receive a prison sentence for their first offence, unless the operation was large-scale or commercial.
Generally speaking, the sentencing guidelines for conspiracy to produce cannabis offences in the UK are as follows:
- Small-scale conspiracy for personal use: First-time offenders who conspire to produce a small number of plants (usually no more than six) for their own personal use are unlikely to receive a prison sentence. The offender may be given a warning, caution, or fine.
- Medium-scale conspiracy for personal use or supply: Offenders who conspire to produce a medium number of plants (usually seven to 100 plants) may receive a community order, such as a suspended sentence or probation. The offender may also be ordered to pay a fine.
- Large-scale conspiracy for supply: Offenders who conspire to produce a large number of plants (usually more than 100 plants) or who conspire to produce cannabis for the purpose of supply are more likely to receive a prison sentence. The length of the prison sentence will depend on the scale of the operation, the role of the offender, and other factors.
In addition to the above, the court may also consider the following factors when sentencing an offender for conspiracy to produce cannabis:
- The offender’s previous criminal record
- The offender’s age and maturity
- The offender’s mental and physical health
- The impact of the offence on the community
If you are facing prosecution for conspiracy to produce cannabis, talk to a qualified solicitor as soon as possible to better understand what kind of sentence you might face.
Will I go to prison if it is my first time committing an offence involving a conspiracy to produce cannabis?
Generally speaking, first-time offenders are unlikely to receive a prison sentence for their first offence, unless the operation was large-scale or commercial. For example, if someone is caught growing a few cannabis plants for their own personal use, they may be given a warning, caution, or fine. That said, if someone is caught conspiring to produce a large number of cannabis plants for the purpose of supply, they are more likely to receive a prison sentence, even if it is their first offence.
The following are factors that the court may consider when sentencing an offender for conspiracy to produce cannabis:
- How many cannabis plants were involved? Was it a small-scale operation for personal use, or a large-scale operation for supply?
- What was the offender’s role in the conspiracy? Were they a leading member of the conspiracy, or were they a minor player?
- Was the cannabis intended for personal use, or was it intended for supply?
- Does the offender have any previous convictions for drug-related offences?
- Is the offender a minor? Are they vulnerable or have they been exploited?
- Does the offender have any mental or physical health problems that could affect the sentence?
- How has the offence impacted the community? For example, was the cannabis farm located near a school or a residential area?
Where to get further help
If you or someone you care about needs advice about charges relating to the conspiracy to produce cannabis, get in touch with the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors today. We may even be able to get your case dropped before it reaches court!
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