Bill headed to Crist would bring stiffer penalties for marijuana grow houses
Running an indoor grow house to cultivate marijuana would bring stiffer penalties under a bill now heading to [Florida] Governor Crist’s desk.
The legislation would make it a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison to own a house where marijuana is being cultivated, packaged and distributed.
The bill would also reduce the number of marijuana plants that would have to be in a home for a person to be convicted of a second-degree felony, which would be punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Right now, a person would have to have 300 plants in their home to be convicted of a second-degree felony, but the bill would reduce that number to 25.
In addition, if a child was living in the home, a person could spend up to 30 years in prison.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill today. It passed the House last month.
I think this is a bill they haven’t really put much thought into. Suppose you are a Florida landlord and you rent your property out to someone who then grows a single marijuana plant for personal uses. As the owner of the home, are you now headed to five years in prison? If your renter grows 25, are you sent up for 15 years? If your renter has kids, are you going to prison for 30 years?
Think about the consequences of this. The rental market is tight already and landlords are always having trouble finding good tenants. What will landlords do to protect themselves from the potential grower/renter? Will landlords, in addition to criminal background checks they already perform, now be insisting on pre-rental and random drug testing of their renters? Will they be forced to perform those 24-hour notice rental inspections?
And what of the people trying to rent? If you had made a mistake in your youth and got busted with marijuana, how likely are landlords going to want to rent to you? I believe this will create even more homeless people in Florida, as those people on the margins economically who have drug convictions in the past are rejected for rentals.