Possession of Marijuana 

Although marijuana possession has been decriminalized in much of the country, illegal possession of marijuana is taken very seriously in the State of Florida.

When an individual possesses more than 20 grams of cannabis, that person will generally face felony criminal charges regardless of where he or she was taken into custody. Moreover, as marijuana becomes more acceptable in some areas of the country, users are becoming more creative in the ways in which they consume the substance, for example using THC concentrates and edible cannabis snacks. 

Lawyer for Possession of Marijuana Arrests in Pensacola, FL

If you were arrested for marijuana possession anywhere in Escambia County, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Law Office of James M. Burns defends clients all over the Florida Panhandle, including Navarre, Milton, Fort Walton Beach, Perdido Key, Pace, and many other nearby communities. 

Pensacola criminal defense attorney James M. Burns can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, such as possibly having the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Call (850) 457-6002 today to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


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Escambia County Possession of Marijuana Information Center


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Elements of Possession of Cannabis under FL. Stat. § 893.13

The Florida Jury Instructions break down Florida Statute § 893.13, which criminalizes the possession of marijuana, into three elements. Thus, the State must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant had actual or constructive possession of a certain substance
  • The substance was cannabis, accounting for less than 20 grams; and
  • The defendant had knowledge that he or she possessed the substance.

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Constructive vs. Actual Possession

Whether a person “possessed” a controlled substance for the purpose of Florida Statute § 863.13 will depend on the level of control the individual exercised over it. Florida law recognizes both actual possession and constructive possession.

Actual possession means that an object or, in this case, marijuana was in the offender’s hand, on his or her person, or within “ready reach,” and under the offender’s control.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, means that the controlled substance is not directly in a person’s physical possession, but was under the offender’s control.


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Possession of Marijuana Penalties

Under Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(b), possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor. Such simple possession convictions are punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. 

When an alleged offender possesses more than 20 grams of cannabis, he or she will be charged with a third-degree felony. Convictions are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Felony convictions carry many additional consequences for alleged offenders, including possible loss of the right to possess a firearm. If an alleged offender possesses more than 25 pounds of marijuana, the crime becomes the first-degree felony offense of trafficking in cannabis.


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Escambia County Possession of Marijuana Resources

Greater Pensacola Area of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) — NA is an international, community-based association dedicated to assisting men and women that suffer from major drug problems. The NA focuses on Group meeting membership and sharing, and membership is open to all types of drug addicts. On this website you can learn more about what happens at NA meetings, find the dates and times of meetings in your area, and also view information on upcoming events.

Drug Court | First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida — Learn more about the ten components of Florida drug court. The First Judicial Circuit of Florida has a drug court in Escambia County. Drug courts are designed as treatment-based alternatives to incarceration. The website also provides links to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals that more fully explains how drug courts work.

Escambia County Adult Drug Court
100 West Maxwell Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 595-3055

Florida | Marijuana Anonymous (MA) — MA identifies itself as "a fellowship of people who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction." The organization uses the basic 12 steps of recovery founded by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Use this website to find in-person meetings in Florida as well as online meetings and phone meetings.


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The Law Office of James M. Burns | Pensacola Possession of Marijuana Defense Attorney

Were you arrested for alleged marijuana possession in North Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Law Office of James M. Burns.

James M. Burns is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Pensacola who represents residents and visitors in Pensacola and Perdido Key in Escambia County, and Milton, Navarre, and Pace located in Santa Rosa County, Florida. 

You can have our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (850) 457-6002 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 

This article was last updated on Friday, March 30, 2018.