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growing cannabis uk law

Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.

The severity of the penalty applied in relation to cultivation of cannabis will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The prosecution consider the size of the operation, the individual’s role in said operation & certain mitigating factors. The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences outlines the range of sentences available for cultivation of cannabis cases:

It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.

Penalties available for cultivation of cannabis

POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.

Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.

The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a ‘trafficking’ offence, which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.

Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.

There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.

Growing cannabis uk law

Cannabis remains illegal to possess, distribute, sell or grow in the UK.

What is the law on cannabis in the UK?

In 2001, the Government began a major policy shift on cannabis by conducting a trial in Lambeth, South London, for dealing with cannabis possession offences. Officers in the area would no longer arrest individuals for possession but instead issue a verbal warning and confiscate the substance.

The history of UK cannabis law

In France, the possession and use of cannabis remains prohibited and can be punished by one year’s imprisonment or a fine of up to 4,000 Euros. And in Germany, possession of cannabis remains a criminal offence, albeit the Public Prosecutor may not prosecute if the offence relates to a small amount for personal use and it is not in the public interest to prosecute.

Last date for new prospective growers of ‘industrial hemp’ for seed and/or fibre only to apply to register as a user of our drug licensing portal. If approved, you will be able to apply for a license.

If you are a new or existing grower read our hemp factsheet for information on the licensing process for industrial hemp.

If you apply after the cut-off dates

Our fees cover the costs of processing an application and are charged per licensing decision so different fee levels may apply. The fee levels are set out in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2010. Read the full list of fees for controlled drugs licences.

Applications for licences to cultivate in the 2022 season can be made from this date. Applications received before this date will be rejected as premature.

2022 growing season – important dates for prospective applicants

We may also ask for our administrative costs to be paid within 10 working days. We can email you extra information about these costs.