Marijuana laws in the nation have dramatically shifted within the last decade. Some states have implemented harsher restrictions to pot users while others have become more lenient. Multiple state governments continue to debate on whether recreational usage is right for their areas.
As the third most populated state in the country, Florida has also seen an increase in cannabis demand and people fighting for their right to smoke weed legally. While the Sunshine State has seen some change within their regulations recently, it is still relatively strict on the subject. Locals should familiarize themselves with the state's laws on marijuana usage so they can avoid severe penalties.
Is recreational usage legal?
No. While many are still trying to get the state to pass a law allowing recreational usage of marijuana, it is still illegal to possess the drug for these purposes. If you have under 20 grams, it is a 1st degree misdemeanor chargeable by a fine and up to one year of jail time. If you have over 25 pounds, they consider it as trafficking. This is a first-degree felony with a mandatory $25,000 fine and 3 years of prison, both of which significantly increase if they find you with thousands of pounds of the material.
Additionally, if you acquire marijuana in a state where it is legal for recreational use such as Colorado, do not bring it back to Florida. Getting pot in a legal state does not make the substance legal when you get back.
Is medical usage legal?
Yes. In 2016, the state passed Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana. However, there are several restrictions on the process of obtaining it. You must go to a doctor certified by the state to obtain a recommendation, prove that you have an approved condition and that other methods and treatments have not worked. After getting your doctor's approval and sending the application to the Department of Health, you will get a card that allows you to purchase the substance from a state-approved dispensary for 30 weeks.
Some of these qualifying conditions include:
· Chron's disease
· Parkinson's Disease
Residents should keep an eye on the regulations for medical marijuana as they continue to change. Earlier this year, a Tallahassee judge ruled the ban on smokable medical marijuana as unconstitutional, and the amount of legal distributors is continuing to increase.
With how slow the Department of Health is implementing some of the regulations on medical marijuana, residents are more prone to making a mistake in receiving the drug. If you are arrested for pot usage by the state police, you have the right to defend yourself to minimize or erase any potential charges that could result from a conviction.