The Kennedys found that the state of Iowa, however, was less forgiving. Nine months after their arrest, LaDonna and Randy Kennedy pleaded guilty to manufacturing, delivering and possessing drugs with the intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana. In return, they received two years’ probation. The sentence was lenient, considering a class D felony in Iowa can result in a five-year prison sentence.
“I grew up in that town and it means something to me,” she said. “It was a safe place to grow up and I needed to take care of it.”
Only a year before her arrest, LaDonna underwent hip surgery. Before the surgery, she dealt with constant pain that, at times, left her barely mobile. She turned to marijuana to help mitigate it and help with sleep.
LaDonna and Randy continue to help their community in the ways they are still allowed. LaDonna volunteers with a group that works to send underprivileged girls to summer camp. Randy still clears snow from the driveways of local widows. The couple remains there for the community when needed.
One of their most prominent supporters is Tommy Jo “ToJo” Scheuermann, a stout and boisterous woman who occupies an unofficial position of community leadership by way of owning the only place in town that serves food.
On the day of the arrest, the police report claimed there were 18 marijuana plants on the premises, but Randy Kennedy claims there were only nine, just three more than the legal limit in states such as California.
LaDonna Kennedy resigned immediately after the arrest. But the Kennedys, longtime fixtures and known good samaritans, have enjoyed a great deal of support from members of their community.
Like many crime reports that explode across the digital news ecosystem with an amusing headline, the initial articles didn’t tell the whole story. After the buzz faded, a small, close-knit community was left divided, and a middle-aged couple who had devoted their entire lives to this town faced the prospect of prison time for self-medicating using a substance that in many other states is legal, and in others decriminalized.
But the Kennedys’ arrest not only turned their lives upside down, it revealed the fault lines of a community – ones that reflect a growing tolerance for marijuana even in America’s rural heartland that stands at odds with its more conservative leadership.
These rules may sound a bit overly protective, but they've allowed me to grow without any legal problems since I started growing over a decade ago.
So, if you are lucky enough to live in a state with legalized marijuana cultivation, I strongly caution you to still take the necessary precautions and keep yourself out of watchful eyes.
Rule 5: Avoid House Guests
If you live somewhere like Alabama, you had better not get caught! Possession of any amount of cannabis for personal use is classified as a misdemeanor. It carries a possible punishment of a year in prison plus a $6,000 fine.
It is impractical to live a Howard Hughes-like existence while waiting for the weed to harvest. However, you must lock your grow room at the very least. In what is the same principle as rule #1. You can’t allow anyone to access the marijuana site, nor can they know it is even there. It will make life a little awkward for a while, especially if you’re a social person.
Even if you live in a state where it is legal to grow marijuana, it is always best not to attract attention.
They are both excellent options, but a mini-fridge does a great job of disguising the smell. If you do it right, you could even keep the fridge in your room under lock and key.
Rule #7 – Thou Shalt Understand Electrical Safety & Technology
Don’t let their size fool you.…
At harvest time, it is best if you have the house to yourself. If you have housemates, calculate the likely length of time for your weed to grow. You need to know when harvest time is. Make sure you harvest when they are away. Otherwise, you will have to scout a safe place to dry and cure your herbs. Once this process is complete, store the finished product in an airtight mason jar.
Bear in mind that bright grow lights will give the game away. Use blackout curtains or fabric that blocks the light on your windows. When growing indoors, water pumps and exhaust fans emit the most noise. There isn’t much you can do other than invest in ‘quiet’ fans so that your neighbors don’t complain or suspect. It is less of a problem if you have no neighbors nearby.
Rule #4 – Thou Shalt Be Wary of Nosy Neighbors
It is all too easy to overload your circuits when growing weed. Make sure you know how much your circuits can handle and stay well below the limit. Most indoor growers will do fine with one 600w HPS light.
Basic cultivation of weed is classified as Manufacture in the Second Degree, which is a felony. In theory, getting caught growing marijuana in Alabama could result in a 20-year prison term plus a fine of $30,000.