There is a growing movement in many states to legalize cannabis (marijuana) for prescription use to treat chronic pain and certain diseases such as cancer and glaucoma. There is a somewhat smaller movement to legalize its use as a recreational drug, equivalent to alcohol or tobacco. However, only a few states have gone so far as to allow its use by prescription only. Florida is not one of these states. It is, therefore, necessary for one to understand cannabis laws in Florida before taking any across the state line.

This state uses a progressive chart when determining the charge and the severity of the charge in both possession and sale or cultivation. Possession or delivery of less than twenty grams is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to 1000 USD and/or 1 year in jail. This assumes that one delivers a small quantity and does not get paid for it. Possession of paraphernalia (pipes, bongs, etc) is also a misdemeanor with the same penalties. This can be added the charges associated with the drug itself.

Any delivery of over twenty grams or sale of marijuana up to twenty five pounds is a felony. Possession of the substance in a quantity between twenty grams and twenty five pounds is a felony. At this level, the punishment goes up to 5 years in prison and/or up 5000 USD in fines.

Possession of greater than twenty four plants or any sale or cultivation of the plant within one thousand feet of a school, park, daycare, etc. Is punishable by fines up to 10,000 USD and a prison term up to 15 years. Judges tend to hand out the maximum sentence for operating near these locations.

Whenever one gets into growing or selling amounts over twenty five pounds, he/she is considered to be trafficking in an illegal substance. Any trafficking conviction will carry a minimum mandatory sentence, meaning that judges are given no leeway to be lenient.

From twenty five to two thousand pounds (or plants) is punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison and a fine up to 25,000 USD. The minimum sentence for two thousand to ten thousand pounds (or plants) is 7 years and a fine up to 50,000 USD. Anything over this carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a fine up to 200,000 USD.

Any conviction of any charge relating to marijuana or drugs carries an automatic suspension of one’s driving privileges for a period of not less than 6 months nor over 2 years. This applies whether one is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

Several states have passed legislation that allows doctors to prescribe cannabis as treatment for certain chronic and/or terminal conditions. However, Florida is not on this list. Developing an understanding of cannabis laws in Florida means learning that this plant is still illegal and trafficking in it carries very stiff penalties. Those who are convicted of any trafficking related offense will face mandatory minimum sentences that do not provide judges with any leeway for leniency, even if the defendant cooperates with authorities.,, 954-967-9888

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