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Marijuana Laws in Florida


ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Marijuana is legal for specific medical use in Florida. We review the guiding laws and penalties for possession, use, and trafficking here.


ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10 minutes


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Is Marijuana Legal?

Yes, marijuana is legal in Florida for medical use only, but is illegal under the federal law which completely prohibits possession and distributions. In Florida, medical use of marijuana excludes smoking.  Additionally, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida. Marijuana remains prohibited for recreational use. Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is considered a misdemeanor, meaning it is a criminal offence.

In November 2016, the state Senate passed Florida Amendment 2 allowing use of marijuana to qualified patients. Consequently, marijuana became accessible upon a doctor’s prescription dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center. Still, doctors require special training before they can prescribe medical marijuana. To find a list of physicians who have completed this training and can prescribe medical marijuana in Florida, please go here.

Medical Use

To qualify for medical marijuana in Florida, you must be diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

  • AIDS
  • ALS
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • PTSD

After qualification, patients enter a state registry and apply for a medical marijuana identification card.

After receiving the card, they can go to a dispensary and purchase marijuana.


In Florida, medical use of marijuana excludes smoking.


Types of Legal Marijuana

What types of marijuana are legal in Florida?

Cannabis low in THC and medical strains of marijuana are available to qualified FL patients. Florida has also legalized the medical use of all CBD products derived from either hemp or marijuana. One of them is Marinol, or dronabinol, which comes in a form of capsules. Other FDA- approved synthetic canninboid drugs of this kind are:

  • Cesamet
  • Epidiolex
  • Syndros

All these synthetic forms of marijuana are FDA – approved and legal on a federal level. They do not contain the psychoactive cannabinoids found in marijuana, meaning that these types of drugs will not make you high.

Marijuana Laws in Florida

The following laws are in place to regulate marijuana use in Florida.

 

Marijuana DUI vs. DWI

After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly detected substance among drivers. Tetrahydrocannibol (THC), the main psychoactive substance in marijuana can impact brain functions and impair the ability to drive.

Under Florida Statutes Section 316.193, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and controlled substances. Possessing a driving license in Florida means that you have given your consent to be tested if you are suspected of DUI.

If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of marijuana or other drugs you can be arrested and blood or a urine test will be requested. Refusing to be tested is considered misdemeanor and your license will be automatically suspended and the refusal can be used against you in a court.

Penalties for DUI include:

Moreover, you may be required to attend substance abuse treatment program or counselling. If property damage occurs while driving under the influence of marijuana, this is considered a first degree misdemeanor. A serious bodily injury to a person is third degree felony, and a DUI with fatal consequences to a human being or an unborn child is considered a second degree felony.

Underage drivers arrested for DUI face the same charges as the ones 21 or older. However, having a criminal record can affect greatly the future course of your life in terms of education, career, and opportunity.


Facing jail time? Call us to learn about rehab options instead.


Penalties

In Florida, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance and it is illegal for recreational use and has limited medical use. Possession without prescription is considered a crime. The penalties levied on people caught with marijuana depend on the amount of marijuana you have. Generally,

Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor.

Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis is a felony. 

This is a detailed table of penalties for marijuana possession and sale:

POSSESSION

SALE

 

Legal Help

As you can see from the above table, although Florida has allowed the use of medical marijuana, the state still criminalizes marijuana possession for recreational purposes, and the penalties can be quite severe. When should you seek legal help?

We suggest that you act immediately if you ever face marijuana charges or are suspected of any crime involving cannabis. 

Many folks facing possession charges are also charged for more serious drug crimes, like the sale and manufacturing of weed. Find a skilled criminal defense lawyer that will fight for you. When possible, a good lawyer can set you up with alternative options like voluntary rehab supervised by drug courts. You can start by checking this list provided by NORML of marijuana lawyers in Florida.


You may be eligible for drug court in Florida.


Drug Court

If you are facing drug-related charges and you also are addicted to marijuana, there may be an alternative for you through the programs of the drug courts. How is a drug court different than other courts?

A drug court is a special court with the authority to handle cases involving substance abuse offenders.  They offer non-adversarial and court-based approach by offering you a substance abuse treatment program. Currently, there are 94 of these courts operating in Florida.

In order to enter a Florida drug courts program, you must be deemed eligible.

Under Florida Statute §948.08(6)(a) you are eligible if:

  • You are willing to enter the program.
  • You have a substance abuse problem.
  • You are charged with a non-violent felony.
  • You have violated probation.

However, keep in mind that programs vary between individual courts and that some of them allow only first –time offenders to enter the programs. Further, addiction treatment providers must be licensed and certified to provide you with the treatment services in the State of Florida.


Going to rehab is a good start! Call us to learn about rehab options.


Court-Ordered Rehab

In some cases, if you are diagnosed with marijuana addiction, you may be eligible for court-ordered treatment instead of jail time Addiction treatment programs supervised by Florida Drug courts must last at least a year. Typically, outcomes are best if the drug court offers a continuum of care for substance abuse disorder. These services should include:

  • Day treatment
  • Detox, if necessary
  • Group or individual counselling sessions
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Residential services

Also, participants must submit to drug tests when asked, attend court hearings, and attend other activities connected with their recovery. In other words, in order to benefit from the program….you must participate!

After completing the program, your progress will checked regularly and you will be offered advice if needed. If you successfully complete all the requirements, you have the possibility to avoid jail and in some cases even a complete dismissal of charges.

Court-ordered treatment is usually offered as an alternative to jail. If you are offered treatment, you still have the possibility to decline and choose a jail time instead. But, this is strongly discouraged! Why? Because rehab can:

  • Improve interpersonal relationships
  • Improve overall health
  • Lower recidivism
  • Reduce inmate misconduct
  • Reduce relapse

Why go to jail? Willingness to go to rehab is viewed favorably by drug courts.


Am I Addicted?

Despite popular belief, people can get addicted to marijuana both physically and psychologically. Know that physical dependence is different than psychological addiction. When you are psychologically addicted you will experience:

  • Compulsive behavior.
  • Continuous use even when knowing the negative consequences.
  • Cravings and urges when off the drug.
  • Feeling in danger when the supplies are low.
  • Feeling indifferent about work, home, school, etc.
  • The inability to quit.
  • Obsessive thinking about how to get marijuana.

To determine if you have a problem watch for the common signs and symptoms. If you use marijuana on regular basis and suddenly stop, you will probably have some of the following symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • drug craving
  • headache
  • increased aggression
  • irritability
  • sleeping difficulties

If you think you have a problem and that marijuana use negatively affects your daily life seek professional help. There are numerous treatment options available. Call us to learn about how rehab can help you.

Views on Marijuana

Marijuana policies are going through radical changes in the last years. Every year, more states are added to the list of legalized for medical purposes. This has a domino effect on the other states and it seems that more states are now considering changes in their existing marijuana laws.

So where does Florida stand along the spectrum of political views on marijuana?

71.31 % of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment for the legalization of medical marijuana, versus 28.7% that opposed it. It is certain that there is a shift in the public opinion. But conservative politicians are still resisting the idea as well as the older generations.

Still, Florida lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to implement rules and regulations for growing, cultivating and medicating. For example, smoking is excluded from the medicinal use, but a Leon County circuit court judge ruled that the ban on smoking medical marijuana is unconstitutional, and the ruling is now under appeal.

The public is still divided on this issue but according to a survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, 62 percent, support legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana, and 35 percent are against it. There is also an initiative that is pushing cannabis to be legalized for recreational use and regulated the same as alcohol and tobacco.

This year, advocates hoped to gather the needed signatures by February 1, 2018 to get full marijuana legalization on November’s ballot, but they failed to do so and missed the deadline. Now, they are hoping that they can gather enough signatures for the 2020 election. That means that there is a great possibility that recreational marijuana will become legal in Florida by 2020.

Is Weed Making Life Hard for You?

Marijuana can get in the way of living to your full potential. If you are smoking weed every day, you’ll need to address the reasons why. This can be accomplished via counseling, support groups, or an inpatient rehab program.

Call us to talk about rehab. An addiction recovery specialist will explain what rehab is like. S/He can also help you identify ways to fund treatment. We know addiction. You are not alone.

Still, let us know if you have any questions or comments. You can leave your questions about Florida marijuana laws in the section below. We try to respond to all comments with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Article X Section 29 of the Florida Constitution
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64-4
Florida Statutes § 316.193
Florida Statutes § 381.986
Florida Statute §948.08(6)(a)
Senate Bill 8A: Medical Use of Marijuana
Driving Laws: Florida Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties:
NORML: Florida Drugged Driving
NORML: Florida Laws & Penalties
Application for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organization Approval, Form DH8006-OCU-2/2015
NORML: Marijuana Lawyer in Florida 
Florida Courts: State of Florida Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards
Office of National Drug Control Policy: Drug Courts
University of North Florida: New UNF Poll Shows Florida Governor Candidates Lack Name Recognition
Addiction Blog: Signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction

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