Home Growing is a Risky Business
Posted by Scott Gorman - March 27, 2016

Although it is relatively easy to grow marijuana in your backyard or even in your home, many people often do not consider what could happen if they were to get caught. Individuals who have been growing marijuana for their own personal, recreational use probably may not think of themselves as drug dealers and they might not realize that the criminal penalties for growing marijuana could be applicable to their small private stashes.

However, drug possession attorneys report that growing marijuana is treated as a serious criminal activity in the state of New Jersey. The state laws treat growing marijuana as a form of manufacturing drugs, and the penalties for manufacturing drugs of any kind depend on how much is being made in a given location. With respect to marijuana, growers with fewer than ten plants can be charged with a fourth-degree crime, but those with more than fifty plants can face penalties consistent with a first-degree crime.


In New Jersey, the penalty for first-degree growing of more than fifty marijuana plants can lead to a twenty-year prison sentence and fines of up to $300,000. Growing between ten and fifty plants can carry penalties consistent with a second-degree crime, which may result in up to 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. Fourth-degree growing of fewer than ten plants can be punishable by up to eighteen months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

For comparison purposes, under New Jersey law, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and most sexual assault crimes are first-degree crimes with penalties that are similar to the penalties for growing fifty marijuana plants.

How People Get Caught

Often, home growers are caught after one of the following scenarios:

–          A close friend or family member knows their secrets and tells others.

–          An unrelated incident or emergency causes law enforcement officials, fire fighters or other professionals to enter a house where marijuana is growing, and they are required to report the finding.

–          The plants are visible from outside the home, either near a window or in the backyard and can be viewed by neighbors or people passing.

–          The smell from the plants is permeating the surrounding area, especially in an apartment building or shared garden.

Contact Us

Criminal charges can be devastating for recreational marijuana users. It is still illegal to grow marijuana in New Jersey, and lawyers in Essex County warn that the penalties can be costly—both financially and in terms of imprisonment.

Scott Gorman represents clients who have been charged with a variety of drug crimes, including home growing of marijuana. If you have been caught growing marijuana in your home or backyard, contact the Gorman Law Firm in Essex County today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

Published in Categories: Drug Posession