As reported by W. Zachary Malinoswki in the November 1, 2010 edition of the Providence Journal, a Tiverton man is finding out the hard way thatmore isn't always better. In September, a Tiverton man was found growing one hundred and thirteen (113) marijuana plants on his property. He was initially charged under State Law and before Rhode Island State Courts. However, his case was later transferred to Federal Court due to the sheer number of marijuana plants.
According to Police, if a defendant is accused of growing ninety-nine (99) marijuana plants or less, the case will typically remain in State Court. This is advantageous because Rhode Island State law is more flexible than Federal Law. Rhode Island does not have mandatory minimum penalties, Judges are allowed to give defendants suspended sentences, defendants are eligible for parole after 1/3 of their sentence is served and the State has a medical marijuana law. However, once the magic number of one hundred (100) marijuana plants is reached, Federal Prosecution often occurs. Under Federal Law, the minimum mandatory sentence for such a crime is at least five (5) years in prison. There is no option for a suspended sentence. In addition, the Defendant must serve at least 85% of their prison term before they are eligible for parole.
A Providence man has already learned this lesson. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in October and received five (5) years in prison. He was found growing one hundred and twenty-five (125) marijuana plants.