Cannabis Laws in Florida: What Is Legal and What Is Not
It is an understatement to say that Florida has a thriving culture of cannabis appreciation. Pot leaf T-shirts have been a top selling item at Florida mall kiosks since the early 90s, when albums where Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre praised the mellow green plant dominated the charts. Although almost all states have amended their laws in recent years to be more lenient toward cannabis use for medical, and in some states, even recreational, purposes, Florida is not as lenient as one might expect. You can easily find yourself facing criminal charges if law enforcement officers find you in possession of even a small amount of cannabis.
Yes, Marijuana Possession Is Still Illegal in Florida
Some states have decriminalized cannabis possession, meaning that getting caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis for the first time is not a punishable offense. Florida has seen no statewide decriminalization legislation. Possessing any amount of marijuana is illegal in Florida; 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, but more than that is a felony. An exception is that in Tampa, Orlando, Key West, and Miami-Dade County, possession of 20g or less of marijuana is a noncriminal civil offense, punishable only by a small fine and some community service.
These are the punishments for various cannabis-related offenses in Florida:
- Possession or sale of 20g or less – a fine not to exceed $1,000, plus up to a year of imprisonment
- Possession of more than 20g – a fine not to exceed $5,000, plus up to five years of imprisonment
- Sale (including delivery) between 20g and 25 lbs. – a fine not to exceed $5,000, plus up to five years of imprisonment
- Sale (including delivery) of any amount of cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school – a fine not to exceed $10,000, plus up to fifteen years of imprisonment
Medical Cannabis Laws in Florida
Florida laws allow people who have obtained permission to use cannabis products as a treatment for certain medical conditions to consume and possess cannabis. Florida’s first medical cannabis laws were introduced in 2014 and made medical cannabis available to only a very small number of patients. (The first law did not even automatically allow terminally ill patients to use cannabis.) Furthermore, the only cannabis products approved for use had to be very low in THC. (THC is the compound in cannabis that causes a high, but it also can have therapeutic effects such as stimulating appetite and relieving anxiety.) Today, medical cannabis is approved for quite a few conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If your condition is not officially listed but causes symptoms similar to the above diseases, and your doctor can make a case for you benefiting from cannabis consumption, you may be able to get permission to use medical cannabis.
Contact Bundza & Rodriguez About Criminal Defense Cases
If you are facing criminal charges for cannabis possession, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact Bundza & Rodriguez in Daytona Beach, Florida for legal representation in criminal cases.