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Do you fully understand Florida marijuana laws?

You may be one of many people in Florida and throughout the nation who are glad that some states have decriminalized use of marijuana. Perhaps you or a loved one suffer from a seizure disorder or some other condition for which cannabis oils are used to help alleviate pain or lessen symptoms. Then again, you might merely be among those who believe that everyone should be able to use pot for recreation.

The problem is that the federal government still lists it as a crime to possess or use marijuana in any situation or in any form. While many states have their own laws, if a situation arises where federal law enforcement becomes involved, it's crucial to remember that federal law always takes precedence over state law. This state has adapted its laws to allow highly restricted use of marijuana in certain circumstances; however, you'll want to seek clarification of those laws to avoid legal problems down the line.  

Possessing less than 20 grams is a crime in Florida 

You might consider less than 20 grams of marijuana a very minimal amount. However, Florida prosecutors may file charges against you if they have evidence that you were in possession of even the smallest amounts of the drug. The following list further explains these laws: 

  • Possession of less than 20 grams constitutes a criminal misdemeanor in Florida
  • If the court convicts you and it's your first offense, the judge may allow you to enter a drug diversion program in lieu of a heavier sentence. 
  • If the court does not opt for a diversion program, you may incur a penalty of up to one year in jail in addition to a fine for a first offense.
  • If the court convicts you of possessing between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana, you could land behind bars for up to five years. 
  • Penalties become far more severe for possessing pot in excess of 25 pounds. The state of Florida classifies this as a first-degree felony.  

Restricted medical use allowed 

In 2016, Florida residents voted to allow legalized medical use of marijuana. Some of the rules that apply are included in the following list: 

  • The amendment took effect in 2017. 
  • Only those suffering from debilitating seizure disorders or other serious medical conditions are eligible for medical cannabis use.
  • A state-licensed physician must diagnose a particular condition before someone can use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  

Florida also suspends drivers' licenses in marijuana-related convictions, even if a particular incident was not traffic-related. You can see why it's so important to make sure you clearly understand state laws before using marijuana in this state or anywhere. If you're not sure whether something is legal or illegal, it can help to discuss the issue with someone who is well versed in state marijuana laws. 

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