Medical marijuana makes headway in Florida

The medical marijuana movement is picking up steam in Florida – but, for now at least, the drug remains illegal under both state and federal law.

On January 27, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing a proposed constitutional amendment to appear on the state’s November ballot, asking Floridians to weigh in on the issue of medical marijuana. If passed, the amendment to the state constitution would pave the way for medical marijuana to be made available in Florida for the treatment of serious medical conditions like AIDS, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

In what could be another major milestone for proponents of medical marijuana in Florida, state lawmakers are considering legislation that could legalize a specific strain of medical marijuana known for its effectiveness at treating children with severe epilepsy. Known as Charlotte’s Web, the marijuana strain is non-euphoric, meaning that it contains only trace amounts of THC and cannot be used to get “high.” Rather than being smoked, Charlotte’s Web is administered in the form of an oil that can be mixed into food or placed in a patient’s feeding tube.

The House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice is expected to consider the forthcoming bill in February. If approved by the Subcommittee, it could go before the entire House of Representatives in March or April 2014.

Marijuana possession in Florida

Under Florida’s existing laws, possession of marijuana in any amount is a criminal offense that can result in serious legal consequences. Possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana is considered a felony in Florida, with conviction carrying steep penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Even in smaller amounts, marijuana possession is a serious matter in Florida. People found in possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor, and may face up to a year of incarceration or probation if convicted, as well as a fine of up to $1,000.

In addition to steep fines and jail time, people convicted of marijuana possession in Florida can face driver’s license suspension, regardless of the quantity of marijuana involved.

Get legal help for Florida marijuana charges

Although attitudes toward medical marijuana in Florida may be shifting, the fact remains that marijuana possession is a serious legal matter that can result in drastic legal, financial and professional consequences for those who are convicted. To help protect your rights and legal interests in the event that you or a loved one is arrested for possession of marijuana in Florida, be sure to get help right away from an attorney who has experience defending clients against Florida drug charges.