Despite the recent number of states that have decriminalized or outright legalized marijuana in the United States, cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida. The drug goes by a variety of street names—including weed, pot, bud, ganja, and many others—and even the scent of marijuana can be used by police as probable cause to conduct warrantless searches.
An arrest for any kind of a cannabis-related offense in Florida can have significant consequences. In addition to possible incarceration and fines, alleged offenders also face the loss of driving privileges and ineligibility for public housing, certain employment, and federal student aid.
Were you arrested in Florida for any kind of cannabis crime? You should not delay in seeking legal representation.
John Terrezza of Terrezza Law is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who aggressively defends clients in communities throughout Santa Rosa County and Escambia County. Call (850) 764-5291 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options.
Depending on several factors, marijuana crimes in Florida may be misdemeanor or felony offenses. Specific penalties for cannabis-related crimes are established under Florida Statute § 893.13.
In general, the amount of marijuana that an alleged offender possessed as well as the purpose it was being used for factor into the specific criminal charges. Some of the most common offenses related to cannabis include:
On June 16, 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 that legalized a low-potency strain of cannabis known as “Charlotte’s Web.” The bill was highly restrictive in terms of how the marijuana could be used and who could use it, with the product remaining largely unavailable because of difficulty establishing regulatory oversight.
“Charlotte’s Web” is marijuana that high in cannabidiol (CBD) but low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the euphoric compound that produces a high. It was approved only for patients who were Florida residents suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, or a limited number of other physical medical symptoms.
Use of “Charlotte’s Web” was also limited to pills, oils, or vaporization, as the bill prohibited administration by smoking. It was not approved for treatment of seizures.
The citizen-initiated Florida Amendment 2 (Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions) sought to expand the number of people who could be prescribed medical marijuana as well as how it could be administered. It failed to receive the 60 percent supermajority vote necessary to pass a constitutional amendment despite the support of 57.62 percent of Florida voters in November 2014.
Amendment 2 will again be on the ballot in 2016 as the Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative. Florida House Bill 307 and Senate Bill 460 also seek to legalize all strains of full-strength marijuana for terminally ill with less than one year to live.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) of Florida — NORML is a nationwide nonprofit organization that opposes prohibition or marijuana and has fought to significantly lower criminal penalties for cannabis-related offenses. In addition to its decriminalization and legalization efforts, the group’s 501(c)(3) sister organization, the NORML Foundation, conducts research and publishes special reports to educate the public on marijuana policy. This section of the NORML website links to the Florida chapter’s homepage where you can find legalization news and information on upcoming events.
United for Care — People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) and United for Care are statewide organizations that have campaigned for the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. On this website, you can learn more about their constitutional amendment petition, endorsements they have received, and recent news about medical marijuana. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions, facts about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, and the stories of people helped by medicinal marijuana.
If you have been arrested for any kind of cannabis offense in Florida, you will want to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Terrezza Law can fight to get criminal charges significantly reduced or completely dismissed.
Pensacola drug crimes defense attorney John Terrezza defends clients in Milton, Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, and many other surrounding areas of Escambia County. You can take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer review your case as soon as you call (850) 764-5291 or submit an online contact form today.