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If a roommate is growing marijuana without your knowledge can you get arrested as well?

Los Angeles, CA |

I recently discovered that my roommate is growing marijuana, if by some chance the police were to search the house and find it could I be arrested and charged with possession as well?

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Attorney answers 3


Pretty hard to convince the police you did not know, when you did know. Pretty strong odor, even if it was locked up and had vent fan. Move!

We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


All is not hopeless.
However, you could be arrested and charged and have to defend yourself. As Mr. Poulson noted, cops are not to interested in the facts. They, and DAs, tend to stop at the "you knew about it". That is only one element of any possession or sales charge.
Your options, in part, depend on the legal relationship between you and your roommate.
If there is also an emotional relationship in addition to the legal roommate issue, the options become more difficult because of the psyshological ties.
YOUR moving out, if possible, should be the last option. especially if you are on the lease.
DO NOT threaten to do something to expose the roommate if he or she does not do something.
I strongly suggest a consultation with an attorney. If possible, in addition to representing persons accused of committing a crime, he or she should also have at least a working familiarity with landlord tennant legal issues.
If both of you have separate e-mail (NO SOCIAL PAGE CONTACTS FOR THIS MESS), you could write a brief statement of events. That is, on sucu and such a date you discovered MJ in the residence, how much you saw growing, where you saw it growing, that its existence has you terrified, you would like for it to be removed from the residence or at least from any common areas (a plcae or places within a structure that other people have access to - kitchens, living rooms, shared bath and bed rooms).
Save a copy of the e-mail to a file.
Remember, mere knowledge is insufficient to convict. Proximity can create the necessity to defend. Do those things which , if not physically, at least activity related, distance you from your roommates acts.
The above applies even if roommate has a medical marijuana card [mmjc] and there are only one or two small plants. Am mmjc is only a potential defense.

The above is not intended as legal advice.

Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson


I really like Attorney Hudson's toughtful analysis. Somehow I picture the door coming down on Officer Friendly's worst day, and things just not turning out so well. Best of luck to you.


Could you be charged? Yes. And being charged would be very likely if the authorities discovered the grow.

Could you be prosecuted successfully? Maybe. Remember, the state has the burden to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally possessed and/or assisted in the cultivation of the marijuana.

You should sit down with your roommate and find out all the facts. Does he/she hold a valid doctor's recommendation? Is the marijuana for personal use or does the roommate plan on distributing a controlled substance? Explain to your roommate that his/her decision affects you too and that there might be cause for you to break the lease.

Feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions.


My answers to questions are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. I require signed written agreements in order to establish an attorney/client relationship.

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