Drug manufacturing charges in SC can include growing marijuana, operating a “home meth lab,” or cooking crack cocaine in your kitchen – any process that produces or creates a controlled substance can result in charges for drug manufacturing.
Johnny Gardner Law has extensive experience handling drug manufacturing charges for clients in Myrtle Beach, Conway, and the Grand Strand area, including jury trials, plea negotiations, and pretrial motions to exclude evidence due to constitutional violations.
What is drug manufacturing and how do people get charged with it? Below, we will discuss:
- Definitions of drug manufacturing in SC law,
- The potential penalties for drug manufacturing charges in SC,
- Manufacturing marijuana charges (grow rooms, grow houses, outdoor marijuana grows), and
- Manufacturing meth charges (meth labs, possession of precursors, and charges for exposing minors to meth and disposal of meth waste).
What are Drug Manufacturing Charges in SC?
SC laws on drug manufacturing charges are found in SC Code § 44-53-375 (methamphetamine or cocaine base/crack cocaine) and SC Code § 44-53-370 (marijuana, powder cocaine, heroin, LSD, and other controlled substances).
These statutes cover all variations of possession, distribution, manufacturing, drug trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute or possession with intent to manufacture drugs:
A person who manufactures, distributes, dispenses, delivers, purchases, or otherwise aids, abets, attempts, or conspires to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or possesses with intent to distribute, dispense, or deliver… is guilty of a felony…
What does “manufacturing” mean, though?
Unlike other types of drug charges, manufacturing is not based on the weight of the drugs – you can be charged with manufacturing drugs if there is evidence that you have been making, growing, creating, mixing, or cooking the drug, including:
- Cooking crack cocaine or cocaine base,
- Cooking meth (or you are found in possession of precursors and equipment used to cook meth),
- Growing marijuana plants,
- Pressing pills (ecstasy or Molly cut with heroin or meth, for example),
- Growing psilocybin mushrooms, or
- Making LSD/ acid.
Potential Penalties for Drug Manufacturing Charges
The potential penalties for drug manufacturing charges in SC are the same as the penalties for drug distribution charges or possession with intent to distribute (PWID) charges:
|Drug Manufacturing Charges||Penalties|
|Manufacturing Marijuana 1st Offense||Fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison|
|Manufacturing Marijuana 2nd Offense||Fines up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Marijuana 3rd Offense||Fines up to $20,000 and no less than five and up to 20 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Crack, Cocaine, or Meth 1st Offense||Fines up to $25,000 and up to 15 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Crack, Cocaine, or Meth 2nd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than five and up to 30 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Crack, Cocaine, or Meth 3rd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than ten and up to 30 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Heroin 1st Offense||Fines up to $25,000 and up to 15 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Heroin 2nd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than five and up to 30 years in prison|
|Manufacturing Heroin 3rd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than 10 and up to 30 years in prison|
|Manufacturing MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy 1st Offense||Fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison|
|Manufacturing MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy 2nd Offense||Fines up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison|
|Manufacturing MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy 3rd Offense||Fines up to $20,000 and no less than five and up to 20 years in prison|
|Manufacturing LSD 1st Offense||Fines up to $25,000 and up to 15 years in prison|
|Manufacturing LSD 2nd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than five and up to 30 years in prison|
|Manufacturing LSD 3rd Offense||Fines up to $50,000 and no less than 10 and up to 30 years in prison|
Manufacturing Marijuana Charges in SC
Most drug manufacturing charges involve mixing chemicals or other precursors in a lab setting (or your kitchen) to create the drug. Manufacturing marijuana charges (or manufacturing psilocybin mushrooms) are different, however, because all you have to do is plant a seed and grow the plant…
Up to ten pounds of marijuana can be charged as “manufacturing,” but, if you have more than ten pounds, you will most likely be charged with trafficking in marijuana, and the potential penalties (up to 25 years for the most serious offenses) are based on the number of plants that were found.
Grow Rooms, Grow Houses, Outdoor Marijuana Plants
As more and more jurisdictions legalize or decriminalize marijuana throughout the country, weed smokers in SC are growing more impatient, and more grow rooms, grow houses, and outdoor marijuana grows are popping up across the state.
You may be right that the laws prohibiting marijuana are unjust and that it should be legalized, but marijuana possession and marijuana plants are still illegal in our state, and law enforcement will arrest you and charge you with manufacturing marijuana if you are found with marijuana plants.
How do police find marijuana grow rooms when most growers take great pains to keep them hidden?
- Informants – the most common cause for marijuana grow busts in SC is informants. When someone is charged with a drug crime, narcotics officer will grill them about who they know and where they can buy drugs, promise them leniency, strap a wire on them, and send them out to make cases,
- Accidental discovery – marijuana has an odor. A strong odor and even the most careful growers can end up with a neighbor, mailman, relative, or stranger walking down the street calling law enforcement when they smell plants ready for harvest or buds drying on a rack,
- High electric bills – marijuana requires sunlight to grow and do its thing, which means grow lights and high electric bills. Although utilities usually do not call police to report unusually high electric bills (if the person is paying their bills), it can happen, and
- Thermal imaging – police need a search warrant to use thermal imaging (see Kyllo v. US), and they usually do not use thermal imaging devices. But, when there is sufficient probable cause to scan a property with a thermal imaging device, it can reveal locations with unusually high temperatures (a possible indication that grow lights are in use), which can contribute to the probable cause for a search warrant to enter the property.
Manufacturing Meth Charges in SC
Manufacturing meth – methamphetamine, crank, ice, crystal, or crystal meth – is another common drug manufacturing charge in SC.
“Meth labs” in homes can be dangerous to the occupants and the neighbors due to the dangers of explosion, fire, or toxic waste, and law enforcement aggressively searches for and shuts down meth production in SC.
Although many of the precursors required to cook meth are common household products that can be found in Walmart or the grocery store, one precursor – pseudoephedrine hydrochloride – is now regulated. You must show identification to purchase pseudo products and you are limited in the amount you can purchase each month.
In addition to charges for manufacturing meth or trafficking in meth, discovery of a meth lab on your property can result in additional charges including:
- Disposal of waste of meth production – because waste from meth labs can be toxic, SC Code § 44-53-376 makes it an additional crime to dispose of waste from meth production (or to help someone else dispose of waste from meth production), and it carries up to ten years (for a second offense), a fine of up to ten thousand dollars, and restitution for the cost of all agencies that respond to clean up the waste, and
- Exposing a child to meth – SC Code § 44-53-378 makes it a crime carrying up to ten years in prison (for a second offense) to expose a child to methamphetamine or the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Drug Manufacturing Defense Lawyers in Conway, SC
Attorney Johnny Gardner has over twenty years of trial experience defending misdemeanors and felonies in SC courtrooms, including drug crimes like drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, drug distribution, drug manufacturing, and drug trafficking.