Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.
The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a 'trafficking' offence, which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.
POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.
Penalties available for cultivation of cannabis
The severity of the penalty applied in relation to cultivation of cannabis will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The prosecution consider the size of the operation, the individual’s role in said operation & certain mitigating factors. The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences outlines the range of sentences available for cultivation of cannabis cases:
Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years' imprisonment.
Maximum: 14 years' imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.
There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.