Shifts in Marijuana Laws: Where Does Florida Stand?
State marijuana laws are beginning to change. Recently, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Many states now allow the medical use of marijuana while others have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. States that allow for the medicinal use of marijuana include Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Maine, West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii. Therefore, almost half of the 50 states have legalized either recreational or medical marijuana. In addition to this list, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Ohio have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Decriminalization laws vary from state to state (in some states punishment is comparable to a traffic infraction, in others it is a misdemeanor) but generally, possession of a small amount of marijuana in these states carries no jail time.Where Does Florida Stand on Marijuana?
Florida law allows the use of medical marijuana strains that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive compound that makes people feel high, whereas CBD is non-psychoactive. Some counties and cities in Florida recently passed ordinances to decriminalize possession of less than 20 grams to a civil penalty, such as a minimal fine. However, Florida state law still considers a small amount of marijuana to be a misdemeanor offense.
The list below outlines the different amounts and subsequent consequences of marijuana possession under Florida law:
- Up to 20 grams is classified as a misdemeanor and can carry up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000;
- Felony possession or possession with intent to distribute more than 20 grams up to 25 pounds can carry up to five years in prison;
- Twenty-five pounds to under 2,000 pounds meets mandatory sentencing laws where the minimum sentence required by law is three years in prison; however, someone convicted in this category could serve up to 15 years;
- Two-thousand pounds to less than 10,000 pounds carries a mandatory sentence of seven years; however, someone convicted in this category could serve up to 30 years; and
- Possession of more than 10,000 pounds carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years; however, someone convicted in this category could serve up to 30 years.
While marijuana policy is changing nationwide, Florida still criminalizes the possession of marijuana. In Florida, unless you qualify as a patient for medical CBD, if you are caught with marijuana you will be charged with a crime. Possession of small amount of marijuana, even less than one ounce, can lead to jail time. Trafficking charges of more than 25 pounds carry mandatory minimum prison sentences. Therefore, it is important to get the representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing drug charges.Are You Facing Drug Charges?
If you have been charged with a drug offense, it is imperative to get the help of a criminal defense attorney. Mark S. Lowry, based in Fort Lauderdale, has extensive experience in defending drug crimes and understands which defenses are most effective in court. If you are facing drug charges, contact the office of Mark S. Lowry today for your free consultation.