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Medicinal Marijuana in Florida

In 2016, the state of Florida passed Amendment 2 which allowed people with certain medical disorders to obtain cannabis for medicinal purposes. The legislation was expanded in 2019 to lift the smoke ban and incorporate “flower” marijuana. This allowed those with a medical marijuana card to buy dried marijuana in plant form to smoke, which was a huge change since Florida only allowed cannabis oils and creams for patients since 2016.

The widespread popularity of medical marijuana has caused the business to grow exponentially. However, the law hasn’t quite caught up to medical marijuana’s growth. It’s still illegal to consume or possess marijuana for recreational purposes. Law enforcement could arrest you for using marijuana even if it’s considered medicinal. If you or someone you know is interested in getting a medical marijuana card, it’s recommended you’re familiar with Florida’s rules and regulations for it.

Medical Marijuana Attorney in Broward County, Florida

Have you been arrested for possession of cannabis? Do you have a medical marijuana card If so, then you may want to contact an seasoned criminal defense attorney to assist you. You have a right to use your medical cannabis for your condition.  We want to protect your rights along with your health at Meltzer & Bell.

Our attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are experienced in all sorts of drugs cases such as marijuana possession. We take a detailed and thorough approach to every one of our client’s cases. Using our knowledge and experience, our defense lawyers can assist you. Call us now at (954) 765-6585 to set up a free consultation.

Meltzer & Bell practices throughout the greater Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.

Overview of Medical Marijuana in Florida

What Are the Medical Marijuana Requirements in Florida?

Florida made Amendment 2 become effective on January 3rd, 2017. The legislation allowed Floridians to receive a prescription to either low-THC cannabis products or medical marijuana. What separates the two is the potency of THC. Medical marijuana is known to have a much higher THC concentration than a low-THC product such as CBD oil.

The only way to legally obtain medical marijuana is through a qualified physician. It’s important to note that the prescription can’t stem from any physician. The doctor must be certified to prescribe cannabis under the regulations of the Compassionate Use law. If the physician prescribes you cannabis, then you will be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry that is run by the U.S. Department of Health.

The only way to collect a medical marijuana card is if you have one of the following conditions.

  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain;
  • Medical conditions that are of the same class or kind to the ones above; or
  • A terminal medical condition that is diagnosed by another physician other than the one prescribing the medical marijuana.

In the past, Florida had stringent rules on how marijuana can be consumed. However, as of 2019 the legislation was expanded to allow patients to use smokable marijuana.

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Regulations for Using Medical Marijuana in Florida

Patients may be able to use medical marijuana, but they must follow strict regulations set forth by Florida law. Failure to follow these rules could result in you losing your card and the ability to obtain cannabis as a means of medication in the future. Listed below are the rules for consuming medical marijuana in Florida.

  • You cannot transfer your medical marijuana to another person;
  • You cannot use cannabis that wasn’t acquired at a medical marijuana treatment center;
  • You must follow your physician’s instructions when consuming cannabis; and
  • You cannot consume medical marijuana in a public place.

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The Necessity Defense and Medical Cannabis

It’s still a crime in Florida to own, carry or possess marijuana for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, there have been cases of people being arrested for using their medical marijuana. If this happens to you, you may be able to utilize the necessity defense.

The necessity defense is when an offender was forced to commit a crime because of circumstances beyond their control. The defense establishes that the offender must decide between two “evils” and by choosing to consume marijuana they caused less harm to themselves and the public than the alternative.

The Florida Standard Jury Instructions Chapter 3.6(k) states the defense must prove all of the following to successfully implement the necessity defense.

  • There was a danger or emergency that you didn’t cause;
  • The emergency or danger had a potential of harming you or others;
  • The harm would have been real, imminent and impending;
  • You had no reasonable means to avoid the danger except to commit the crime; and
  • The harm you avoided outweighed harm that was caused by committing the act

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Penalties for Possessing Marijuana in Florida

Using cannabis recreationally is a crime that carries serious penalties in Florida. Under Florida Statute § 893.03, possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties of a first-degree misdemeanor include:

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

Possessing more than 20 grams, but less than 25 pounds of cannabis is a third-degree felony. The crime can result in the following penalties:

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

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Additional Resources

Office of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida – Visit the official website for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use in Florida to learn more about medicinal cannabis. Access the site to learn more about their patient registry, information for physicians and answers to frequently asked questions.

SB 8-A Medical Use of Marijuana – Visit the official website for the Florida Senate and access the original Amendment 2 bill for medical marijuana. Access the site to read the original bill, view any amendments and other related bills in the Florida senate.

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Lawyer for Medical Cannabis in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you or someone you know has been arrested for using prescribed marijuana, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our criminal defense team can represent you so you can protect your freedom and health. Call us today at (954) 765-6585 to set up your first consultation completely free.

Our defense lawyers serve clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.

This article was last updated on September 4, 2019.

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