Sunday 4 February 2024

Caught Growing Cannabis in the UK (updated Law)

Caught growing cannabis (UK guide)

New updated sentencing guidelines as of December 2022

The government updated the sentencing guidelines for getting caught cultivating cannabis in the UK in April 2021. Some things have changed very slightly so if you have been caught growing cannabis in the UK, please read this guide before going to court so you know what to expect.

This guide is based on the actual sentencing guide the judge in court will be referring to when deciding what your punishment will be.

Find the actual UK sentencing guidelines by following this link Production of a controlled drug/ Cultivation of cannabis plant – Sentencing (

Step 1 – Decide what role you played and *harm* they say you caused.

Leading role: This is going to be for organisers of commercial grows on a boss level. People who gained significant financial rewards and on the more serious side could have been using a business to hide the crime or abused their position of trust.

Significant role: This is a person working within a chain, at some kind of management level. This person may have recruited or included others through threat of violence or offering financial rewards. Someone who has awareness of the commercial gain, but not a full understanding. This person will be working for financial gain (not just filling needs of own habit)

Lesser role: This is normally for someone working alone on their own actions which is the best case in court. If you are working with others the lessor role will only apply if you have been pressured into it through threat of violence or are involved through naivety. You will only be in the lesser role if you have no influence over others in the process at all.

The category of harm (how many plants were growing)

Category 1: Cannabis Production on a commercial basis capable of producing very high quantities on an industrial scale. We would guess this is on Very large scale such as a factory or commercial premises, but there is no specific guide on this provided.

Category 2: Simply put, this is for a cannabis operation capable of producing significant quantities for commercial use. We would guess this would be large scale in a domestic residence, but also there is no specifics provided.

Category 3: This has changed slightly as it has been reduced to just 20 plants. This is on the basis of the plants being capable of yielding 55 grams each.

Category 4: This has also changed to just 7 plants (previously was 9) which is strange as your typical hobby would consist of a 3x3 (9 plant set up) so most will now sit in the Category 3 range.

Step 2 - Possible Sentence for Cultivation of Cannabis a Class B Drug

Having determined the role of the offender and the Category of harm in step 1, the court will now look at the guide below to determine a starting minimum and maximum sentence. 

So if you got caught with 19 plants and you acted completely alone, you would be in Category 3 with a Lessor Role and a sentence range between a community service order and 26 weeks in prison.

Category 1

Leading role:  4.5 years  up to Max 10 years

Significant role:  5 years  up to Max 7 years

Lesser role:  2.5 years up to Max 5 years

Category 2

Leading role:  4.5 years up to Max 8 years

Significant role:  2.5 years up to Max 5 years

Lesser role:  26 Weeks up to Max 3 years

Category 3

Leading role:  2.5 years up to Max 5 years

Significant role:  26 Weeks up to Max 3 years

Lesser role:  Service Order up to Max 26 Weeks

Category 4

Leading role:  26 Weeks up to Max 3 years

Significant role:  Service Order up to Max 26 Weeks

Lesser role:  Cash Fine up to Max Service Order

Step 3 – Features that increase or decrease the seriousness

Factors that will Increase Seriousness

Exploitation of others to commit the offence, Level of profits gained, steeling electricity or other utilities, Ongoing operation and specialist equipment used, Danger exposed to others during the process, presence of weapons, use of violence, offence committed on license, previous offences and use of specialist equipment to conceal the grow.

Factors that will Decrease Seriousness

Involvement due to pressure, intimidation or through nativity, if it’s a one off incidence, no previous convictions, good character (family, Job, mortgage), willingness to change and maybe to address addiction, mental health conditions, Age or lack of maturity, Sol or primary carer for relative.

Step 4

The court will look at the minimum sentencing guide using the step 2 guide and decide if there is good reason to offer a reduction on the minimum sentence. They will look at the seriousness of the offence and who was involved, then look at previous convictions and decide if you would be better off not going to prison etc.

Step 5

The court favours what we might like to refer to as a grass. Those who assist with the prosecution of others and help the court will get a reduced sentence themselves. 

Step 6

The court will offer a reduced sentence for those that plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Step 7

The court will consider carrying out a proceeds of crime confiscation order. This is quite self-explanatory as that if you have high value assets you cant explain they may take these away as they may have been paid for with the financial rewards from your cultivation.

Step 8

They will agree on reasons for the sentence they are imposing to use while addressing you in court.

Step 9

They will consider time already spent on bail and reduce this from your sentence


It would seem that if you are growing 7 plants or less and you are doing so without the involvement of anyone else, you should not be worried in court. I cant understand why this has been reduced from 9 to 7 as now it is just more incriminating and makes no sense. 9 plants is a perfect hobby size grow in a 1x1m tent which we guess most opt for.

If you was growing under 20 plants and are a person of good character, working on your own without the involvement of anyone else, it would seem also that you are going to be okay.

So long as you are of reasonably good character and go along with everything they say in court. Definitely accept the drug addiction rehabilitation course they offer as they don’t like those who refuse. Also make sure you are well presented in court and show respect to the people in power (especially the judge) you should be fine, but every case is different.

A word of caution

The sentence courts hand out in the UK is not based only on how many plants you grow, its actually not based on that at all. You could be caught growing just 7 plants and get 3 years in prison at the maximum level. This of course is highly unlikely, but if you were controlling someone else through violence and had a horrible criminal record, you might get a long prison sentence for a small grow. Basically, any scenario where you are not acting alone could result in you receiving a higher sentence in court.

The sentencing guidelines are very non specific when it comes to growing on a more commercial scale, so the only way to know what they consider a large scale commercial operation would have to come from those experienced at that level and what they was individually sentenced to in court.

what we need is those with experience and those who may have been sentenced for growing cannabis in the UK to post your views and comments to help our readers gain confidence in this topic.

We welcome your comments


  1. It is a crime to put people in prison for growing cannabis

    what harm does this plant do to anyone?

    The only harm done is to the grower as now they have a criminal record

    1. Yeah bollocks how police can lock anyone up for weed.

  2. I just clicked on the link on your website to this and found it interesting.

    I was in Court for 36 plants last week, but some were small babies so managed to get them discredited off the total amount. To be honest I was a little worried going into court so got a good lawyer that cost a few quid.

    The police said there was around 30 plants in the house and my lawyer made them look a stupid saying 'we don't guess numbers in my courtroom' maybe this lowered my sentence.

    I walked with 100 hours community service and a £900 fine.

    Lawyer told me that in the worst case it could be a custodial sentence so I was relieved to walk with the fine and community service.

    Was all personal consumption, said it was a one off grow and i got no previous convictions.

    1. Sounds like you was lucky on that one mate.

    2. My feeling is that, well, let me explain, I did all of the ground work with a London Clinic "The green Clinic" because I'm, Con a cocktail of potent drugs for severe pain, I listed my drugs to them, they accessed my records with my permission, I qualified for trials, the next consultation was going to be £50 and the supply which I also qualified for would be around £180 per month, now bear in mind that the drugs that I'm on are as far as I'm concerned are way way worse by way of side effects, they are horrible, I'm constantly exhausted, I can't sleep when I'm supposed to, I have a dreadful memory which for me is the killer since I was on stage and now have no memory for script, frankly my life is over already, Cannabis does not do this to me, so, where's the crime, seems to me that if you have money it's not illegal but if ya don't, frankly you're fucked and working against the LAW.THIS IS RIDICULOUS AND HAS TO CHANGE. Especially when we already know that Theresa Mays Husband is very involved with the growth of Medical Cannabis, doesn't that speak volumes about who wants the monopoly on the money.

    3. Sorry, some of that rant was lost but you get the jist. 😁 🌈

    4. I think the biggest problem caused by drugs is the effect law has on the people who take them.

      I believe that on all drug classes, not just cannabis.

      Law causes rise in price, which creates gangs to supply the drugs, which creates violence in communities and a huge underground market that just feeds more toxicity

      the circle is forever continuous and needs to be broken.

      No drug law, no problems.

    5. The pharmaceutical companies are the biggest drug pushers of the world. They love creating addicts for their ‘legal drugs’ to keep them supplied year after year. Biggest criminals of them all.

    6. Most growers know the rules. In London police don’t do shit. I’ve known plenty who grow. Some grown for years and not quietly. Never known anyone who went to prison for it.

  3. So under 7 plants and it should be safe.

    I’m gonna do 4 plants with a 250 cfl so not expensive and not much heat.

    If I get 8 oz off that every 4 months that means I’m blazing for free.

    1/2 oz a week, save buying it

    1. 4 plants with 250 watts isn’t enough for 2 oz per plant.

    2. 4 plants will be okay under 250cfl

      I would probably use little higher though

    3. 250 watt cfl is not enough for flowering check out led lighting if you want to keep the cost of electricity down.. I use 2 x 200 watt led for flowering only need 1 for veg stage plus it runs cooler in the summer...

  4. 250 cfl for 4 plants is low watts, be lucky to get 2 oz each.

  5. Dutch Passion Durban Poison is very popular strain with outdoor grows in the UK. Its highly resilient, easy to grow and many achieve awesome results with this variety.

    1. No mold late in Flower Uk

    2. Thanks I been looking for a good outdoors strain

  6. New 2023 Bulk Feminized Seeds Deal at Outlet UK- 33 marijuana strains - 100 Seeds cheap only £150


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