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Marijuana and the law in Florida

Over recent years, marijuana and its use have been getting a lot of attention. As public opinion has moved steadily toward the legalization of cannabis for both medical and recreational use, many states have either altered their laws to reflect this position or are in the process of doing so.

As of right now, over half of the states of the nation have some kind of legalized marijuana program. However, the drug is still illegal under federal law. With so many state and federal laws and all of the frequent changes being made, it can be difficult to know exactly which laws to follow and what the penalties may be for breaking those laws, but a marijuana-related crime can still have serious consequences in the state of Florida.

Medical use

The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also known as Amendment 2) was passed by voters in 2016. The initiative allows patients with qualifying conditions the legal use of cannabis and cannabis products in the treatment of their conditions. Some qualifying conditions include,

· Cancer

· Epilepsy

· HIV

· AIDS

· PTSD

· ALS

Before a patient or their caregiver can legally use medical marijuana in Florida, they must first get an identification card from the Florida Department of Health. They can then go to a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) to purchase their medication and associated supplies.

Criminal use

Florida law specifies many marijuana-related crimes, but the major categories are possession and sale.

Possession

· 20 grams or less - Misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

· More than 20 grams, less than 25 lbs - Felony. A conviction can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

· More than 25 lbs, less than 10,000 lbs - Felony. A conviction can result in a minimum sentence of three to seven years (depending on the amount) and a fine of up to $10,000.

· More than 10,000 lbs - Felony. A conviction can result in a minimum sentence of 15 years, a maximum sentence of 30 years and a fine of up to $200,000.

In addition to possessing marijuana, there can be similar penalties for possessing marijuana plants.

Sale

· 25 lbs or less - Felony. A conviction can result in 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

· More than 25 lbs, less than 2000 lbs - Felony. A conviction will have a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

· More than 2000 lbs, less than 10,000 lbs - Felony. Minimum sentence of seven years in prison, maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

· More than 10,000 lbs - Felony. Minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $200,000.

Because of the significant consequences of a marijuana-related conviction, people should not take these types of charges lightly. If a person is charged with a marijuana-related crime, it is highly suggested that they immediately obtain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional.

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