Changes in Florida’s Marijuana Laws

Changes in Florida’s Marijuana Laws


Recent changes to Florida’s laws regarding medical marijuana leave some with questions about just what is now legal, and what can get you into trouble with law enforcement. If you find yourself the target of a local prosecutor, you will need an effective defense.

Medical Marijuana Legalized in Certain Situations

Full-strength marijuana is available as a treatment for patients suffering from a range of debilitating medical conditions. What exactly qualifies as such a condition and who decides what conditions make the list is still under debate. However, particular conditions have been specifically named:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Cancer;
  • HIV;
  • AIDS;
  • ALS;
  • PTSD;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis.

What About Recreational Use?

Florida law still prohibits the recreational use of marijuana. The implications are worth considering:

  • Medical marijuana users cannot simply pick up the stuff on the street. Instead, it must be acquired through a special dispensary, which gets its inventory from one of a limited number of nurseries. Products ranging from oils and tinctures to pills and edibles may be available.
  • Growing backyard plants, buying and selling outside of an approved dispensary, and smoking cannabis for any reason, are all still illegal.

Penalties Associated with Marijuana Possession

Since possession and sales of marijuana are illegal without a prescription, Florida laws spelling out punishments remain on the books. In addition to a suspended driver’s license, those convicted of possession may face some pretty tough consequences:

  • Possession of over 20 grams is a felony, punishable by up to five years of incarceration and $5,000 in fines;
  • If you are caught with more than 25 pounds, you are facing a mandatory three years incarceration, with as much as 15 years, on top of a $25,000 fine;
  • While few plants in your yard could result in consequences similar to possession of small amounts, if you have over 25 plants, you are facing 15 years and $5,000 in fines;
  • Having cannabis within 1,000 feet of a college, park, or school potentially nets you 15 years incarceration a $10,000 fine;

Legal Consequences of Marijuana Sales

The penalties for selling marijuana are contingent on the amount of the drug involved.  Incarceration can be anywhere from one to 30 years, and fines of up to $200,000 may be incurred. As with those convicted of possession, individuals found guilty of selling marijuana will have their driver’s license suspended for one year.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Simply possessing drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, which could result in up to one year of prison and $1,000 in fines.

Drugged Driving

Even with a prescription, you are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. The penalties may include a suspended license, incarceration, and fines, all depending on the seriousness of the driving infraction or accident.

You Deserve a Strong Legal Defense

Our constitution guarantees you the right to a legal defense. At Aiken, O’Halloran and Foley, you will receive personalized, aggressive representation. Contact us in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Punta Gorda or Sarasota for a confidential consultation today.