The Complicated Relationship Between Marijuana and Florida

As Marijuana becomes more legally available throughout the country, it’s important to take a beat and consider the complex nature of jurisdictions and their impact on drug possession charges. While several states have completely “legalized” marijuana possession,it is important to remember it is still illegal at the federal level and in Florida. To make it even more complicated, even within Florida, different counties and municipalities have inconsistent local ordinances.

Inconsistent Legislation

In every state that has legalized marijuana, there are policies regarding how old someone has to be before they can consume the drug and a cap on how much you may possess at one time. There are also many places where an individual can consume and possess marijuana as long as they have a “medicinal purpose.” 

In Florida, using marijuana recreationally is considered a state crime, but it has been legalized as a treatment for qualifying medical conditions. Even with a prescription, there are strict rules in terms of how to legally utilize that prescription. In order to stay out of legal trouble, individuals would have to strictly adhere to the exact prescription as written by a medical provider, so it’s not as simple as carrying a medical marijuana card from another state and expecting law enforcement to respect it.

Several counties and municipalities in Florida have created policies that decriminalized marijuana and instead made it a civil infraction. This makes traveling while possessing marijuana extremely risky. For example, if you live in a city or county where it’s only a civil infraction, forgetting to leave it at home and getting caught by law enforcement in the next town could be the difference between a fine and jail time.

Consequences of Possession in Florida

In areas where marijuana possession is only a civil infraction, you are likely to be fined and will not be recorded as part of your criminal record. Generally, you wouldn’t need an attorney to settle civil infractions, but it’s never a bad idea to get a consultation with one.

For areas that still criminalize marijuana possession, there are even larger fines, and of course, are treated as criminal cases. In these scenarios, you should exercise your right to remain silent and consult your attorney. The possible consequences depend on prior offenses and the amount of marijuana you possess at the time of the arrest.

  • 20 Grams or Less: May result in a misdemeanor or up to a year imprisonment. You may also be fined up to $1,000.
  • 20 Grams or More: Is considered a felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years and a fine of $5,000. 

A simple mistake should not dictate the quality of your life for years to come. If you are currently facing charges of marijuana possession and are in need of legal assistance, call the office of Heather Bryan at (863) 825-5309 to schedule a consultation.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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