Marijuana Laws in Florida: What happens when you are charged with possession?
While numerous states have passed decriminalization or legalization of marijuana laws, Florida is not one of those states. Only medical marijuana is legal to possess in the State of Florida. This means a person must carry a card issued by the State to transport and utilize medical marijuana without facing penalties. A medical marijuana card has to be issued by the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry and requires a prescription from a licensed physician and temporary or permanent Florida residency status. And, while those carrying a medical marijuana card can retain marijuana for their own personal use, they are still barred from consumption in public places, while using public transportation, on school property, on state property and usually at the person’s place of employment.
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2016. Even though many states including New Jersey have passed bills allowing for decriminalization of penalties for possession, Florida has maintained the stance that possession of any amount of marijuana without a medical license card is, at a minimum, a misdemeanor.
Criminal Marijuana Possession
If you are caught with marijuana on you, in a traffic stop for example, you could be charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and depending on the quantity, possession with intent to distribute. These charges carry various penalties. Possession of less than 20 grams is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, and it carries a fine of 1,000 and/or 1 year in jail. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony, with a fine of up to $5,000 and maximum prison term of 5 years. Sale of marijuana is a 3rd degree felony for any amount over 20 grams, and a 1st degree misdemeanor for less than 20 grams. Trafficking of marijuana over state lines carries fines between $25,000 and $200,000 and prison sentences of 3-15 years. Criminal possession carries criminal penalties, but it can also result in the suspension or termination of your driving privileges, as well as substantial fines.
Repeat offenses are extremely serious and can result in major prison time, not including loss of employment, inability to obtain future employment due to a felony record, and loss of eligibility for federal student aid and scholarships. Felony charges also make it extremely difficult to sign a lease or obtain housing. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony marijuana possession charges, it is critical that you consult with an attorney about your rights. Attorney Scriven is experienced in marijuana possession defense. He has obtained favorable outcomes for numerous clients in similar predicaments throughout Florida and in Greater Tampa.
Contact Bryant Scriven, Esq. at Scriven Law, P.A.
Failing to act, adequately respond or attend arraignment or trial hearings is costly and can be detrimental to your case. Similarly, ineffective representation can mean the difference between freedom and time spent in prison. While popular culture might laugh off possession of marijuana, and other states are even legalizing possession, Florida still considers possession a crime. Similarly, it is a crime to falsely obtain a medical marijuana license, carry drug paraphernalia or carry enough marijuana to warrant intent to distribute charges. If you have been charged with any of the crimes listed, responding quickly and obtaining the advice of experienced counsel is critical. Call Tampa drug crimes attorney Bryant Scriven today to discuss the merits of your case and review potential options for resolution.