While public attitudes about marijuana use in Florida have undergone significant changes over the past decade, it is still important for residents to understand what is legal and what is not. Despite the public sentiment, it is still possible for people to face charges for illegal possession of marijuana.
What is legal in Florida?
Florida legalized medical marijuana in 2016. To be able to use medical marijuana, you must have a qualifying medical condition and a diagnosis from a licensed medical marijuana doctor. You must then submit an application for a license to the state and pay a $75 fee. The qualifying conditions include the following:
• Anxiety disorder
• Chronic pain
• Crohn’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Parkinson’s disease
• Terminal condition-related pain
You must also only purchase marijuana from a licensed center. It is illegal to purchase marijuana from another source.
What is not legal
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Florida. Possessing marijuana for any purpose is also still illegal under federal law. However, the federal government has taken a hands-off approach to the use of medical marijuana. If you are caught possessing marijuana for recreational purposes, the penalties you might face will depend on how much you possess and whether or not you intended to sell it. If you are convicted of possessing 20 or fewer grams of marijuana, it is a misdemeanor carrying up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and the potential suspension of your driver’s license. If you are convicted of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana or for possessing with the intent to sell marijuana, it is a felony carrying up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $50,000. Marijuana possession offenses are treated seriously and necessitate a strong criminal defense strategy.
While recreational marijuana continues to be illegal in Florida, legislation to legalize it has been proposed. However, unless the legislation passes, possessing marijuana in Florida without a medical license can result in harsh penalties if you are convicted.