There are many ways to protect a plant from an unusually cold night. GardeningKnowHow.com recommends the use of sheets and plastic. The Daily Mail recommends horticulture fleece. Daniel A. Selmon, 23, decided to light a couple of bonfires near his backyard garden, reports the Daily Herald. Unfortunately, the bonfires alerted authorities, who then discovered that the backyard garden contained a handful of marijuana plants.
Last week, we had a pot bust triggered by a lucky police helicopter catching a glimpse of the bright green marijuana leaves through a gap in the tree canopy. The police found a football field-sized plantation of pot. This week, an idiot lights bonfires in a residential area and hopes that no one notices. Both discoveries could lead to felony charges.
The penalty for marijuana cultivation depends on the number of plants possessed. For backyard “hobby” growers with less than five plants, the maximum sentence is only a year. The exact number of plants possessed by Selmon was not reported, though we do know that he had about 6.5 pounds or 2,948 grams.
According to DrugScience.org, a conservative estimate of the yield of a single outdoor plant is 200 grams. If his plants were nearly full-grown (it is almost winter after all … he couldn’t be that stupid), that means about fifteen plants. Fifteen plants is a class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.
In other words, he probably faces a short sentence for growing. However, possession carries its own penalty. Possession of 2,948 grams carries a mandatory minimum of three years, and a maximum of seven years.
Next time Mr. Selmon, try placing your pot’s pots on risers, as it separates the plants from the frosted ground. Then wrap the pots in bubble wrap and the plants in sheets. Bonfires, or any outdoor fires in residential areas, tend to attract a lot of attention.
Or, you could just not grow pot.
- Speak to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Police: Man set bonfires to keep marijuana plants warm (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Up In Smoke, Chicago Police Seize Ton of Pot (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
- Determinate Sentence (FindLaw’s LawBrain)