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Marijuana Defense

Cannabis, also known as marijuana or marihuana and referred to as pot, weed, ganja and other colloquial names, is a plant indigenous to Central Asia. It has been ingested by people for centuries. It has been studied and shown to have few serious health risks, and has even been shown to have some medicinal purposes, especially for patients dealing with chronic pain issues.

Nevertheless, the state of Florida and the federal government have made marijuana completely illegal. Even the mere possession for personal use can lead to jail time, with greater penalties for sale or cultivation.

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Fort Lauderdale Marijuana Defense Lawyer

A skilled Fort Lauderdale marijuana defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell will fight for you if you face any type of charge relating to cannabis. We got our start as a prosecutor and a public defender in Broward County courts. We are experienced in both the courts of the 17th Judicial Circuit and the federal courts of the U.S. Southern District of Florida.

Marijuana use may not be shown to have many negative effects, but a criminal conviction on cannabis charges can destroy your life. Act today by calling (954) 228-2789 to set up a free consultation. We represent clients throughout Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Weston, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise and Wilton Manors.

Info on Cannabis Crimes in Florida

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Marijuana Possession Charges Under Florida Law

Cannabis is a controlled substance under Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.03, making it illegal to possess without legal justification. Florida does not permit medical marijuana, so there can be no valid prescription, even if you were prescribed and legally obtained it in a state with legal cannabis laws.

However, unlike most illegal substances, it can be a misdemeanor under certain circumstances to possess a very small amount. Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor.  This is an extremely small amount — less than .75 of an ounce — and it includes all of the plant, even unusable portions. Any more is a third degree felony.

First degree misdemeanor charges result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000, while a third degree felony carries penalties up to five times heavier: up to five years and a fine up to $5,000.

If convicted of even misdemeanor possession charges, your license could be suspended for two years. If prosecutors can prove even a miniscule amount of marijuana, you could lose your driving privileges.

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Sale and Cultivation of Cannabis

If accused of selling marijuana, you will face possession with intent to distribute charges, a third degree felony. Prosecutors may use a broad range of evidence to show intent to distribute, including how much cannabis was possessed, how the weed was packaged, if there was paraphernalia like baggies or scales present or if you were in possession of a large amount of cash.

Marijuana cultivation can also result in charges of possession with intent to distribute. This can range from running a growhouse to having a few potted plants in your backyard.

Large amounts of cannabis can result in trafficking charges under Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.135. Possession of more than 25 pounds for the purpose of sale or cultivation will mean charges that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a fine of $25,000. More than five tons results in a minimum 15-year sentence and a fine of $200,000.

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Federal Marijuana Charges at Fort Lauderdale U.S. District Court

The Controlled Substances Act make marijuana a Schedule I drug, and even the mere possession of cannabis can result in federal charges. Possession charges may result from federal agents allegedly finding marijuana in your luggage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, for instance. Possession is a misdemeanor.

Federal agents, like the Drug Enforcement Agency, tend to be more interested in pursuing trafficking charges. These charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. Between 100 and 999 kilograms or 100 to 999 plants carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $5 million. Any more is a minimum 10-year sentence and $10 million fine.

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Defenses to Cannabis Charges in Broward County Courts

In the vast majority of marijuana cases , the chief evidence is the marijuana itself. Law enforcement use a wide range of tactics to find this evidence: sniffing dogs, planes and even heat detection devices that can find the heat from hydroponic equipment used in growhouses.

This evidence must be admissible in court. To be admissible, police cannot have violated your Fourth Amendment constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In many cases, that involves obtaining a warrant.

Your attorney can challenge the constitutionality of the search and seizure that led to the evidence being obtained. If it was illegally obtained, the evidence may be tossed out. Without critical evidence, your charges may be dismissed.

Your attorney can also help you determine alternative options, like Broward County Drug Court. The drug court program allows your charges to be dismissed if you complete treatment. Admittance is at the discretion of the judge. Your lawyer will help you negotiate that, if you determine it is your best option.

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Cannabis Resources in the Fort Lauderdale Area

NORML: The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is dedicated to lobbying for sensible public policy surrounding cannabis.

NORML of Florida: The state chapter of the national organization works with the Florida Legislature in enacting responsible state laws.

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Finding the Best Cannabis Defense Attorney in Broward County

Act immediately if you face charges or are suspected of any crime involving cannabis. By calling a Fort Lauderdale marijuana defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, we will immediately begin working on your case and fighting for the best possible result, whether that be a no file, dismissal, acquittal or drug court. We represent clients all over Broward County. Contact us today at (954) 228-2789 to set up a free consultation.


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