Marijuana Crimes and Florida Law
Although the tide is definitely turning on a national level in terms of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, Florida has not yet joined the other 23 states that have legalized marijuana to some degree. In fact, Florida voters recently turned down a chance to legalize marijuana, although efforts to make pot legal still are on the not-so-distant horizon. As a result, Florida still has many laws on the books that prohibit the possession, use, sales, and manufacture of marijuana; many of these criminal offenses carry substantial penalties for individuals who are convicted.
Marijuana-Related Criminal Offenses Under Florida Law
Under 2015 Florida Statutes 893.13, any individual who sells, manufactures, delivers, or possesses certain drugs, including marijuana, with the intent to sell, commits a third-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to five years. The crime becomes a second-degree felony if an individual takes any of these actions within 1,000 feet of a drug-free area, such as a school, park, church, public housing facility, or assisted living facility. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Likewise, selling marijuana to a person who is under the age of 18 also is a second-degree felony. Furthermore, maintaining a structure, such as a store, warehouse or vehicle, to cultivate, manufacture, or store marijuana is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail.
Trafficking offenses, which involve 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 cannabis plants or more, are even more serious. This is a first-degree felony that will land offenders a minimum mandatory penalty of three years in prison. Possession between 2,000 and 10,0000 pounds will get an individual a minimum of seven years, whereas more than 10,000 pounds results in a prison sentence of at least 15 years.
County Ordinances for Marijuana Possession
Some Florida counties are taking steps to decriminalize or at least lessen the penalties for individuals who are found to possess a small amount of marijuana that is clearly for personal usage. In Miami-Dade County, for example, the commissioners overwhelmingly voted to treat possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana just like loitering or littering – with the issuance of a civil citation and a $100 fine. Likewise, Broward commissioners agreed that issuing civil citations should be an option for police when encountering individuals who are found with a small baggie or marijuana joint. However, in both of these areas of the state, police still have the option of filing criminal charges against the individuals instead of issuing a civil citation.
Call Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., for Help
If you are facing drug charges, no matter what the magnitude of the charges may be, you are likely to be stressed, afraid, and unclear what you should do. The first step whenever you are charged with a drug crime or any type of criminal offense should be to contact the Florida criminal defense attorneys of Salazar & Kelly Group, P.A. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, review all evidence that is relevant to your case, and craft a strong defense strategy for resolving your criminal charges. Call our office at 407-483-0500 today and schedule an appointment at any of our office locations today.