Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under both federal and Michigan law. Although Michigan law allows possession of limited amounts of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the use or possession of any amount or the cultivation of marijuana is a crime under federal law and could lead to drug charges. Penalties for conviction of these crimes under federal law may include fine and/or a prison term, but in cases in which marijuana is cultivated for profit on a large scale, the possibility of a substantial federal prison sentence is more likely in the event of a conviction.
Manufacturing marijuana is prohibited under federal law. A Michigan businessman was recently sentenced by a federal court to two years behind bars. According to court documents, the man claimed that the building in which he grew marijuana was a medical marijuana facility. However, prosecutors claimed the operation to be a business venture that grossed about $20,000 per month.
The defendant was accused of operating an illegal marijuana growing facility and a $1 million bank fraud scheme. The businessman pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture marijuana for distribution and to commit bank fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, he must also pay a fine of $50,000 along with restitution of $788,000.
One focus of federal drug enforcement is on individuals cultivating marijuana for profit. The defendant in this case pleaded guilty, and this plea may have resulted in a more lenient sentence than what would have been imposed had he been found guilty after trial. The power of an experienced criminal defense attorney's skills in the careful negotiation of a plea agreement for drug charges is a potential benefit in those circumstances where a plea bargain appears preferable to taking one's chances at trial.
Source: Detroit Free Press, "Michigan man gets prison for fraud, illegal pot growing", Nov.19, 2015