Marijuana: It’s Still Illegal, It’s Still a Crime
Although medical use of marijuana became legal in Florida effective January 3, 2017, possession of nonmedical marijuana is still a crime under both state and federal law. Possession of less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor, but any quantity greater than that is a felony under both state and federal law.
Marijuana is Illegal Under Federal and State Controlled Substance Acts
Florida state law and Federal law both classify marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule I controlled substance. This is the same category as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy. Drugs in this category are considered to have a high risk of abuse and dependence. Additionally, they supposedly have “no currently accepted medical use.”
Medical Marijuana Defense: Don’t Count on It
You may mistakenly think that you can raise the defense that you were only using marijuana for medical purposes. This requires you to:
- Be a registered user.
- Registration comes from a prescription from a qualified doctor who has been treating you for at least 90 days prior to prescribing marijuana for you.
- The qualified doctor may only prescribe the marijuana for medical diseases or conditions that are on an approved list.
- Even if all other criteria are met, you must have purchased the marijuana at one of the seven dispensaries which are also licensed to cultivate and sell the marijuana.
If you do not meet all of these requirements, you may be charged with a criminal offense.
Depending on the amount of marijuana you are charged with possessing, and whether it is your first or subsequent offense, you could be facing a state prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $200,000. Penalties are even greater if you are charged in federal court.
Contact a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer James Davis, P.A. as soon as you are arrested or believe you are under investigation. Do not speak to anyone about your case, including law enforcement, family members or cell mates, until you speak with your attorney.