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Marijuana Defense

Cannabis is a plant that grows naturally in many parts of the world. It’s been used for centuries regarding sacred rituals, medicine and recreational use until the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Currently, it’s illegal to possess, possess with intent to sell, sell or cultivate marijuana. Florida is no exception and is known for having infamously harsh drug penalties.

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a marijuana related crime, then it’s imperative you seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The penalties for a marijuana offense can be devastating and include expensive fines, required drug abuse courses, community service, probation and even incarceration. In addition, if you were caught with a surplus of cannabis or THC concentrates, you could be charged with a felony.

Don’t wait another moment to fight your allegations. Get in contact with skilled legal representation and start building your defense now.

Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you face any type of charges relating to cannabis, whether state or federal, misdemeanor or felony, a West Palm Beach marijuana defense lawyer from Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can assist you. We are a former prosecutor and public defender who have teamed up to fight for the rights of those accused of cannabis-related crimes. You will always have an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your case.

Call us today at (561) 557-8686 to set up a free consultation. We serve those facing charges in the Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Hollywood and Davie. We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Overview of Marijuana Laws in FL

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What is Cannabis or Marijuana?

Cannabis, also referred to as marijuana, weed, pot, ganja or other various names is a type of plant in the family Cannabaceae. Often the plant’s flowers are harvested, dried and then ingested in various ways so a person can experience the psychoactive effects of consuming it. These effects derive from something known as cannabinoids, which are chemicals that make up the majority of the plant and are the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

One cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive feeling marijuana provides when ingested is 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also commonly referred to as THC. Some other cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD), all of which are assumed to produce different effects than THC. In some cases, people will press the marijuana plant so they can extract pure cannabinoids or THC oil. This oil can be used in cooking, vaping or “dabbing” and gives a much more extended high than smoking cannabis.

Under the law, marijuana is an illegal controlled substance. It’s classified under Florida’s Drug Schedule I, however most cannabis related cases are charged as misdemeanors. What most don’t know about cannabis under Florida law is that certain parts of the plant are not considered marijuana. In Florida, only the leaves and seeds of the plant are considered to be marijuana. Being in possession of the stalks, branches or “sap” (aka THC concentrates) isn’t considered to be marijuana, but a Schedule I drug. That means a person can be charged with a felony for possessing even trace amounts of THC concentrates.

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What Are the Penalties for Possession of Marijuana?

Florida is known for having harsh penalties for marijuana related convictions. The Florida Statutes Section 893.13 states you cannot sell, manufacture or deliver a controlled substance such as cannabis. Under Florida law, there are two types of possession that you can be accused of if you were charged for having marijuana. These are known as actual and constructive possession of a substance.

Actual possession is when the marijuana is on your person. Some examples can include having cannabis in your pocket, hands, purse or in your car’s glove compartment box while driving. Constructive possession is when you have control and complete dominion over the marijuana, but it might not be on your immediate person or vicinity. For example, if you kept cannabis in a locked box under your bed, then the court would consider you to be in constructive possession of marijuana.

Having 20 grams of marijuana or less is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Being in possession of 21 grams or more is a third-degree felony in Florida, which can lead to:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

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What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Trafficking in Florida?

Florida outlaws the peddling, transport or illegal importing of cannabis in any capacity. The penalties for marijuana trafficking are determined by the weight or quantity of the cannabis plants. Listed below are the penalties in Florida for trafficking marijuana.

  • 25 pounds – 2,000 pounds; OR
  • 300 – 2,000 plants
    • Second Degree Felony with a maximum punishment of up to 15 years in prison, possible fine of up to $25,000, and a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison.
  • 2,000 pounds – 10,000 pounds; OR
  • 2,000 plants – 10,000 plants
    • First Degree Felony with a maximum punishment of up to 30 years in prison, possible fine of up to $50,000, and a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison.
  • 10,000 or more pounds; OR
  • 10,000 or more plants
    • First Degree Felony with a maximum punishment of up to 30 years in prison, possible fine of up to $20,000, and a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.

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What Are the Penalties for Cultivating Marijuana in FL?

Although you may not be selling the plant, cultivating marijuana or operating a cannabis grow house is a crime in Florida. You can even be charged with a crime if you were the proprietor, dweller or resident of the grow house. Cultivation of marijuana plants without breaking the drug trafficking plant threshold is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

In addition, you will face criminal charges if you are a proprietor and rented/sold your property with knowledge that one of the following were going to happen:

  • Marijuana trafficking;
  • The sale of cannabis in some way; or
  • Manufacture of cannabis for intended sale or distribution

It’s a third-degree felony to be a proprietor of a grow house, which can lead to:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

Dwelling in a grow house when you are aware there is marijuana sale, trafficking or manufacture is a second-degree felony. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 15 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

If you are a resident of a grow house with a minor present, then your crime will be enhanced to a first-degree felony. The penalties for a first-degree felony include:

  • Up to 30 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

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Medical Marijuana in Florida

Florida passed Amendment 2 in 2016 which allowed people to use cannabis for medical purposes if they had a certain condition. In 2019, the legislation expanded to life the smoke ban and incorporate “flower” marijuana when before they were limited only to THC concentrates. Now, with a medical marijuana card you can possess cannabis in a legal manner.

You can obtain a medical marijuana prescription through a qualified physician. Once you do, then you can use that cannabis how your physician instructed you to do. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop law enforcement from arresting people for using their medicinal marijuana. If this happens, you could still potentially be charged with a crime despite having a medical card. That is why it’s important you hire legal representation even if you are lawfully prescribed marijuana by an authorized physician.

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Additional Resources

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — Visit the official website for NORML  a nationwide organization that supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source.

Office of National Drug Control Policy —Visit the official website of the ONDCP which is designed to establish policies, priorities and objectives for the nation’s drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence and drug-related health consequences.

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Marijuana Defense Attorney in Broward County, FL

After an arrest for a marijuana offense, people may feel confused about the next step or overwhelmed. Often, a marijuana charge is a person’s first interaction with the criminal justice system. Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help you protect your future after charges for an alleged cannabis crime. St. Petersburg marijuana defense lawyer Melinda Morris received special training on prosecuting drug cases as an assistant state attorney.

This inside knowledge is of critical importance and can benefit the defense of your case. Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents adults and youth facing marijuana charges in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Bradenton, Palm Harbor and other surrounding areas. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled marijuana defense attorney today.

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