Marijuana continues to be a hot topic around the country. Several states now have laws on the books allowing for varying degrees of possession and use of cannabis, and the laws from state to state and between states and the Federal government can be confusing.
In 2016 the voters of Florida legalized medical marijuana at the ballot box. What follows is a brief overview of the marijuana laws in Florida as they now stand.
The 2016 ballot proposal known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (or Amendment 2 at the time) made the possession and use of marijuana legal for those with specific debilitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.
Among the conditions specified in the Florida medical marijuana statute are
In order to obtain medical marijuana in Florida a person must register and apply for a license, which costs $75. Marijuana may only be purchased from a licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) dealer, as private growing of marijuana remains illegal.
A license for medical marijuana in Florida entitles a person to up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower every 35 days, and possessing no more than 4 ounces at any one time is illegal.
Consumption of medical marijuana is regulated as well. Medical marijuana patients may not consume cannabis products
in public or plain view,
on a school bus, vehicle, aircraft, or boat, or
on school grounds.
Doing so is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida..
If one does not qualify under the medical marijuana statute, the sale, manufacturing, and delivery of marijuana (or intending to do the same) is a crime. If a defendant is found to have less than 20 grams (about 0.7 oz) of cannabis, the charge will be a 1st degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Greater amounts of marijuana bring more serious crimes in Florida. If a defendant is found to have more than 20 grams of cannabis but less than 25 lbs, or if he or she is found to possess less than 300 marijuana plants, the charge becomes a felony with a punishment of up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
If a defendant is arrested with over 25 lbs of marijuana, the possession charge becomes a trafficking charge, leading to a minimum three-year and a possible five-year sentence and $5,000 fine. If a defendant is found to have been in possession of 2,000 lbs of cannabis, the mandatory sentence is at least 7 years in prison, with a possibility of 30 years in prison and a fine of $50,000 possible. If the prosecution proves that the defendant was trafficking over 10,000 lbs of marijuana, the sentence is a mandatory 15 years in prison and a mandatory fine of $200,000.
Hash and other marijuana concentrates are also illegal in Florida. Conviction of possessing such substances is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, hemp and CBD oil is legal provided it contains less than 0.3% THC.