Florida Weed Laws
Florida follows a national trend towards decriminalization; however, marijuana remains illegal under Florida law. Some areas have decriminalized possession of small amounts by permitting officers to issue citations instead of arresting individuals.
Florida laws make recreational marijuana use and possession unlawful, even for medical conditions that qualify. Cultivation of cannabis plants is also illegal and may incur penalties that range from fines to jail time.
Florida marijuana laws allow qualified medical patients to legally possess small quantities of cannabis for personal use or consumption, with a valid doctor’s prescription being necessary to purchase and use marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Florida also permits physicians to recommend cannabis as a treatment for conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and chronic non-malignant pain.
Florida does not currently allow recreational users to possess marijuana legally; however, a 2024 ballot initiative seeks to change this. This initiative would legalize cannabis for adults aged 21 and up, establish the Division of Marijuana Management, and license establishments to sell cannabis. Having already been submitted, its chances of passing are uncertain due to Florida’s short legislative session.
Anyone caught possessing marijuana faces either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the quantity and concentration of THC. Under 20 grams may only result in fines, while possession over this threshold could result in prison time and penalties. Some jurisdictions allow officers discretion not to arrest adults with less than 20 grams at one time.
In 2016, Florida voters passed Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana with an overwhelming majority. Subsequently, the legislature implemented this amendment, and an Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) was established to oversee its program.
Physicians can certify a qualifying condition by filling out a form provided by the OMMU and submitting it to their state health department, which then register them and issue them a medical marijuana identification card valid for one year that can be used at licensed dispensaries to purchase cannabis for consumption within private residence. It cannot be transported into public areas.
In 2018, a judge overruled Washington state’s ban on smoking smokable cannabis for medical patients, prompting legislators to pass Senate Bill 182, which allows doctors to prescribe it for qualifying conditions – providing greater access to medication that can enhance the quality of life for these individuals.
Florida law still forbids recreational marijuana use despite medical legalization being approved in 2016. Current Florida marijuana laws are stringent. Anyone caught possessing cannabis could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on how much was found, its location, etc. The Clearwater/Tampa area offers exemption from jail time or fines with less than 20 grams in their possession.
Decriminalization efforts by local governments across Florida have played a role in making recreational marijuana legal in Florida; however, no state legislature legislation has yet been passed making recreational cannabis legal in Florida. A proposal called House Bill 189 failed in both chambers despite proposing decriminalizing possession of up to four ounces of marijuana by adults over 21.
Florida law currently only allows for legal possession of marijuana with a valid prescription from a physician. Smoking, vaping, and cooking marijuana are forbidden under state law. To qualify for medical marijuana prescription, patients must possess qualifying conditions that receive endorsement from at least two doctors and reside within Florida’s borders.
Marijuana concentrates like shatter, wax, and THC oil are considered controlled substances in Florida. As with hashish, these products may be confiscated during traffic stops and subject to similar penalties as hashish. Furthermore, driving under the influence of marijuana or any other controlled substance is illegal – with 32% of drug-related accidents involving marijuana, according to Florida state police reports.
Recreational marijuana is only legal in 23 states, including California and Colorado. Florida may soon join this elite club if the Smart & Safe Florida ballot initiative for recreational marijuana legalization succeeds; this group has collected more than one million signatures from registered voters to get this measure on the November 2024 ballot; however, State Attorney Ashley Moody and other opponents of marijuana legalization petition have filed briefs with the Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to stop its passage.
Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
Possession of drug paraphernalia such as bongs or pipes is considered a misdemeanor offense in Florida and could result in fines up to $1,000 if proven. Possessing drug paraphernalia for manufacture, sale, or delivery purposes or within 1,000 feet of schools or drug-free zones is prohibited and subject to fines of up to $1,000 per offense.
Florida’s marijuana laws remain restrictive despite voter approval of medical cannabis in 2016. Nonetheless, certain counties and cities, such as Clearwater/Tampa area, have taken steps to decriminalize smaller amounts of weed. For instance, those under 20 grams could receive a civil citation instead of arrest if found.
Suppose you have been arrested in Florida for marijuana possession. In that case, you must consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to understand all your options and potential strategies to challenge or fight the charges and avoid severe penalties. A Tampa marijuana defense lawyer could potentially be beneficial.
Suppose you have been charged with possessing marijuana in Florida and plead guilty. In that case, options may be available to reduce or dismiss your charges by participating in an alternative sentencing program. These programs usually call for defendants to fulfill specific requirements within an agreed-upon time frame in exchange for the State withdrawing the case.
Remember, Florida marijuana laws are ever-evolving, and if you are facing charges related to marijuana use or possession, you must consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to avoid negative repercussions and protect your freedom. Reach out to Tampa marijuana defense attorney Bryant Scriven now so he can review the details of your case and provide solutions for a positive resolution – his main priority will be keeping you out of jail! Call him now for a free consultation session.
Arrests for Marijuana
Although marijuana may seem harmless, it is illegal in Florida. Individuals found possessing it could face jail time, probation, or fines depending on the circumstances of their case, so if charged, they must consult with a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Hussein & Webber, PL’s experienced lawyers, will fight aggressively if you have been arrested for possessing medical or recreational marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Possession under 20 grams constitutes misdemeanor charges, while anything exceeding this amount includes felony charges carrying severe penalties such as fines and prison time.
Persons caught possessing marijuana pipes, bongs, or paraphernalia may face jail time of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000. Penalties for possessing marijuana concentrates can be even more severe as these crimes fall under the Schedule 1 narcotics classification and carry the highest fines.
Hussein & Webber attorneys frequently assist clients to avoid jail time by having charges dropped against them. Their lawyers may be able to demonstrate that there wasn’t sufficient probable cause for police to search your car or that cannabis was stored suspiciously; additionally, they might also show that you had an active medical marijuana use registry identification card at the time of your arrest.
Certain counties in Florida, such as Broward and Palm Beach, have decriminalized marijuana, so police officers may choose not to arrest someone found with small quantities of the drug on them. However, prosecuting for possession in other parts of the state remains legal.
Florida law makes it illegal to sell or possess marijuana within 1,000 feet of any facility that houses minors, such as schools, daycare centers, and postsecondary education institutions. Furthermore, selling or keeping it within this distance also constitutes illegal conduct within the municipal, county, state, and other public parks is also unlawful.