In recent years, several states across the country have been easing up their penalties for possession of marijuana. In fact, some states (such as California, Colorado, and Washington) have legalized recreational marijuana in various capacities. The state of Florida still has among the toughest penalties on drug use and possession, including marijuana.
While marijuana penalties are certainly less severe than many other drugs, you can still incur heavy penalties and possible jail time for possession, use, and sale of marijuana. Therefore, it is important to understand what the law specifies with regards to this controlled substance and how you can defend yourself if charged with possession of marijuana. A Destin defense attorney can represent your case and possibly prevent you from incurring heavy fines or being sentenced to jail.
Florida Marijuana laws
In Florida, the penalties you can face for marijuana possession will depend on the quantity that you were arrested with as well as your intent. Selling-and-distributing marijuana typically has stiffer penalties than possession and use.
Charges for possession
Charges for possession of marijuana depend on quantity. Possession is based on knowingly and actively/constructively possessing a certain amount of marijuana, which is specified as a controlled substance in Florida.
- Having 20 grams or less of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $1000 and a maximum 1 year in jail.
- Having 20g to 25lbs carries a felony charge, with a maximum fine of $5000 and 5-years in jail.
- Having between 25-2000lbs also carries a felony charge, with a maximum fine of $25,000 and 3-15 years in jail.
Charges for sale
If charged with selling and distributing marijuana, your penalty will also depend on the amounts being sold. For example, selling 20g or less is classified as a misdemeanor charge and carries a maximum fine of $1000 and 1 year in jail.
Medical Marijuana in Florida
In 2016, an amendment was passed to the Florida constitution that allowed medical marijuana to be legalized under specific circumstances. The act is known as “Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative” and it legalizes medical marijuana for use by persons who have specific diseases or illnesses that result in a debilitating condition.
The person using medical marijuana must have received permission from a licensed physician within the state. Outside of medical marijuana in such circumstances, all other marijuana use is illegal under Florida law.
Active vs. Constructive Possession
Florida law specifies marijuana possession into two main categories: active and constructive possession. Active possession refers to the drug being on your person at the time it was seized. On the other hand, constructive possession refers to having the drug within a certain area of your control (such as in your car or your home).
Constructive possession provides a window through which your case can be successfully defended by an experienced Florida drug defense attorney.
Mounting a successful defense
If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession, a qualified Florida defense attorney can help. An experienced criminal lawyer such as Attorney John F. Greene can closely review your case and help you contest any relevant issues. Note that you often need to prove in court that your possession was not with the intent to sell.
With an experienced drug defense attorney by your side, you can be sure that all circumstances regarding your case will be closely reviewed in order to prepare a strong defense. Residents in Crest View, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Destin, and other nearby cities can call Attorney Greene at (850) 424-6833 or schedule a consultation online.