Law enforcement officials in Jacksonville, Florida raided the home of a 91 year old woman searching for marijuana plants, according to an article on News4Jax.com. Apparently, they found 19 marijuana plants in the home near Dupont Middle School in the San Jose area. It was not clear why nineteen marijuana plants caused enough concern to have Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) agents bust into the home of a 91 year old woman with health problems. In any case, the elderly woman was not arrested, but her two caretakers were.
One issue that arises in a situation like this is who is criminally liable for illegal activity in a residence. When a fairly small amount of drugs or a gun is found in a house, one cannot assume that everyone who lives in the home, or happens to be in the home at the time, has some connection to the drugs or gun. To prove a possession charge, the police and the state have to prove a connection between the particular suspect and the illegal activity. Marijuana growing operations may be different since they are not as easily concealed as a gun or bag of drugs. It depends on the size of the marijuana grow operation and how many plants are involved. However, the police and the state still have to prove that a suspect knew about the marijuana plants and had some relationship with the marijuana growing operation or the marijuana plants. In this case, even though the elderly woman owned the house, there appears to be some evidence that she did not know about the plants or what kind of plants they were. In that case, she could not be charged with possession or cultivation of marijuana.