In People v Huertas, 2006 NY Slip Op 06922, the First Department was kind enough to provide those of you who cultivate marijuana some useful tips on how to avoid prosecution for your gardening activities. Bottom line, find an unwitting friend with a garage able to house the operation and avoid actually entering the garage--especially when the police stumble upon your Garden of Eden. But, feel free to share gardening tips with the curious officers.
From the decision:
Even though defendant conceded that the garage wherein he was arrested was a marijuana-growing operation and that the high intensity lights and other accouterments found in the garage were used for the purpose of growing marijuana...(and) (g)iven that defendant was standing inside the garage entryway when the police entered the garage, the People failed to connect defendant to the marijuana operation, which was located in the two rooms of the garage. "[D]efendant's mere knowledge of the presence of mari[j]uana, without proof that he had the ability and intent to exercise dominion or control over the contraband' (People v Wesley, 73 NY2d 351, 361-362 ), is insufficient to establish constructive possession" (People v Burns, 17 AD3d 709, 711 ).
On behalf of my interested readers, I offer heartfelt thanks to the always helpful First Department for the handy tips.