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Intent is a key element in drug manufacturing cases

Drug manufacturing and cultivation are serious offenses under both Iowa and federal law. These crimes are typically felonies and a conviction can mean a lengthy prison sentence as well as significant fines. A person who is involved in any step of the process can be charged with manufacturing or attempted manufacturing. This includes individuals who sell or possess equipment or precursor chemicals used for making illegal drugs.

In a drug manufacturing case, state or federal prosecutors must prove not only possession of chemicals or equipment but also the intent to use those materials to produce illegal substances. This is significant because many of the chemicals and items of equipment used to manufacture or cultivate drugs also have legitimate, lawful purposes.

For example, pseudoephedrine is a common decongestant that can be purchased in drug stores, but it is also a key ingredient in methamphetamine. Mere possession of pseudoephedrine would obviously not be sufficient to charge a person with drug manufacturing. But, if the person was also in possession of laboratory equipment commonly used to cook meth, prosecutors would likely charge them with drug manufacturing.

Similarly, possession of marijuana seeds does not necessarily show an intent to cultivate. But, if an individual is found in possession of grow lamps in addition to the marijuana seeds, there would likely be probable cause for an arrest on cultivation charges.

Anyone facing drug manufacturing or cultivation charges in Iowa has the right to fight the charges. Understanding the elements of the offense is critical to developing a viable defense strategy.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation," accessed Dec. 13, 2015

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