| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

How Much Marijuana Can I Possess Before it is Considered a Felony?

How Much Weed Is A Felony in Florida? To many people, marijuana is considered a harmless drug. However, given that the laws vary from state to state, many would disagree. While it may seem as though marijuana is pretty much decriminalized in the United States, some states still have harsh penalties in place when it comes to possession of the drug. Florida, on the other hand, is one of the strictest states in the nation. It’s not lenient at all, even for first-time offenders. Medical marijuana was only just approved in the state, and it comes with numerous restrictions. For example, marijuana cannot be smoked, but it can be used in other forms. Possession of any amount can get you in trouble with the law. You could face a misdemeanor for having even the smallest amount on you, and it doesn’t take much to get a felony on your criminal record. Florida Marijuana Laws – How Many Grams Is A Felony? If you are caught in possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana, you will face misdemeanor charges. The penalties include a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. Keep in mind that 20 grams is a very small amount—just 0.705 ounces. And if you’re caught with any amount over 20 grams, the penalties get much stiffer, as you’ll be charged with a felony. If you are in possession of anywhere between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana, the penalties include up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you are in possession of the drug within 1,000 feet of a school or park, it is also considered a felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison. If you are caught with 25-2,000 pounds of marijuana, this is a felony charge punishable by 3-15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. If you have anywhere from 2,000-10,000 pounds of the drug in your possession, you will face 7-30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. If you are in possession of 10,000 pounds or more, you will face a hefty fine of $200,000 as well as 15-30 years in prison. Possession of drug paraphernalia is classified as a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail. In addition to the above penalties, any marijuana conviction can cause a person’s driver’s license to be suspended for one year. Contact an Orlando Marijuana Defense Attorney Marijuana possession can be a state and federal crime, depending on the circumstances. While possession of marijuana has been basically decriminalized in many states, it is still considered a federal crime. Drug laws can be confusing, especially when it comes to marijuana. Even the smallest amount can get you charged with a felony in Florida. Let the aggressive Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law defend you against the drug charges you face, no matter how serious. We are available 24/7 to assist you, so give us a call today at (407) 377-0150 to schedule a free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Gun Laws

Medical Marijuana and Gun Ownership: What Florida Residents Should Know

More and more medical marijuana dispensaries are opening up in Florida. While this is great news for those who benefit from the drug to help with medical conditions, gun owners may want to take note. In Florida, you can’t be both a medical marijuana user and a gun owner. If you are found to be in possession of both a medical marijuana card and a gun, you could face serious federal charges. While Florida allows both medical marijuana and concealed carry, the law does not allow a resident to have both rights. When a person purchases a firearm, this restriction is listed on the forms. Under federal law, a user of marijuana—even medical marijuana—is not allowed to legally purchase a gun. That’s because the drug, which has been decriminalized in many states, is still considered a Schedule I drug under federal law. This is a situation where state and federal laws contradict each other. While the law has been challenged in court, the federal court upheld it, so it remains for now. The fact remains, though, that Florida residents are caught in a tough situation and must decide what is more important to them: medicine or the right to bear arms. Gun Ban for Medical Marijuana Users If you’re a user of medical marijuana in Florida, you are prohibited from engaging in the following activities: Possessing a gun Buying a gun Using a gun Selling a gun Giving a gun as a gift Transferring possession of a gun in some other way According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, those who use marijuana in any form are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law. This is because marijuana is considered a dangerous and addictive drug that can cause erratic behavior. It is a Schedule I drug in the same category as LSD, mescaline, peyote and even heroin. Even though the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, federal law trumps state law. Legal precedence has supported federal law. One woman even tried to challenge the law. She took her case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but unfortunately lost. This is unjust and causes a lack of freedom, but it is the law for now. Don’t try to use marijuana and own a gun unless you want to spend a decade in prison. Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida, guns and marijuana don’t mix. If you are a medical marijuana user in possession of a firearm, you could potentially face state and federal criminal charges. Such a charge could change your life dramatically. You could spend time in prison and face difficulties securing employment. Your criminal record will be negatively affected for life. If you are in this situation, do not hesitate to contact an Orlando criminal defense lawyer. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we will aggressively fight to protect your rights. Contact our offices today at (407) 377-0150 to discuss your situation with us and see how we can help.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Marijuana

Will More Medical Marijuana Make It’s Way to Florida?

On June 23, Florida Gov. Rick Scott finally signed legislation to implement Amendment 2, the voter-approved constitutional amendment to permit medical marijuana. The legislation, adopted during a special session of the Florida legislature, creates an overall regulatory framework to ensure patient access to medical marijuana. Among other provisions, the new law will significantly increase the number of organizations licensed to dispense medical marijuana. State to Approve Up to 19 “Treatment Centers” by the End of 2017 While Amendment 2 declares that the “medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver” will not be “subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law,” that does not mean you can simply start smoking a joint because you have glaucoma. Indeed, under the legislation signed by Gov. Scott, it is still illegal to smoke marijuana, even with a physician’s approval. Instead, patients with a prescription must obtain a supply from a state-licensed dispensary, dubbed “medical marijuana treatment centers” in the new legislation. A patient can only receive a 70-day supply from a treatment center. The patient may get up to two additional 70-day refills off a single prescription. In other words, a physician must “recertify” the patient requires medical marijuana at least once every 30 weeks. Currently there are only seven approved treatment centers in the state, including Knox Medical in Orlando and Trulieve and Surterra Therapeutics in Tampa. Most of these treatment centers will also deliver medical marijuana, although it cannot be mailed. It must be personally delivered by employees of the treatment center. Under the new legislation, the state’s Department of Health must license 10 additional treatment centers over the next few months. The first five dispensaries, chosen from a group passed over during the initial round of licensing, must be approved by August 1. The remaining five will be approved no later than October and must include at least one black farmer. By the end of 2017, there could be up to 19 approved treatment centers. Each treatment center may operate up to 25 dispensaries or “retail” locations statewide. These 25 locations must be allocated across different regions of the state as specified by the new regulations. But for every additional 100,000 medical marijuana patients registered with the state, the statewide cap will increase by 5 locations. The Department of Health forecasts there will be more than 472,000 medical marijuana patients by 2022, although the caps are set to expire in 2020. Still Confused About Florida’s Medical Marijuana Laws? The market for medical marijuana is clearly growing in Florida. But many legal challenges still remain. At least one grower has sued the state over the new legislation, alleging it was “wrongfully refused” a license. And there may be additional litigation over the continued ban on smoking medical marijuana. You may have still many questions about whether you are eligible for medical marijuana and how you can legally obtain it. If you need legal advice from an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney on any matter related to marijuana use, please call the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at law, at 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Is Smokable Marijuana Illegal to Possess in Florida?

There is a still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Florida’s slow-moving efforts to implement the legalization of medical marijuana. Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment last November stating that the “medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver” should not be subject to civil or criminal liability under state law. But Florida lawmakers, in adopting rules to implement the amendment, nonetheless decided to forbid patients from using marijuana in the easiest and most common way–i.e., smoking it. Legislators Reject Smoking, Approve Vaping and Tincture Although the active ingredient in marijuana–known as THC–can be consumed in many forms, most people associate marijuana use with “smoking a joint,” i.e. inhaling the vapors released by burning a cigarette containing cannabis plants. The constitutional amendment approved by voters states that nothing in the amendment shall require the state or local governments to permit “smoking medical marijuana in any public place.” But the amendment is otherwise silent on whether smokable marijuana should or should not be a legal form of medical cannabis. Following a special session to address the issue, Florida legislators decided to exclude smoking marijuana from the definition of lawful “medical use.” Instead, under a bill approved by both houses on June 9, authorized patients cannot possess or use any cannabis products that are not “purchased or acquired from a medical marijuana treatment center” licensed by the state. And these dealers may not sell smokable marijuana or joints. One Florida lawmaker told the press that the ban on smoked marijuana was justified for health reasons. “Breathing in soot, breathing in ash, carries a definite detriment, which we didn’t want to extend to medical marijuana,” state Rep. Carey Pigman told WCTV-TV. Another legislator, state Sen. Jeff Clemens, said that “when 90 percent of patients access a product one way and the state does not allow that, then they are not instituting the will of the voters,” according to U.S. News and World Report. So what are the legal options for medical marijuana patients? The legislature did approve “vaping,” which is where cannabis flowers are heated to a temperature just below their combustion point. This is considered by many experts to be safer than smoking traditional marijuana cigarettes, since vaping does not force the patient to inhale potentially toxic chemicals. The legislature also authorized cannabis “edibles” and tincture. Edibles must be a commercially produced food item using only marijuana oil and are not marketed “to be attractive to children.” Tincture is a type of cannabis-infused alcohol that some medical marijuana patients prefer as a lower-calorie alternative to edibles. Have You Been Charged With Illegal Marijuana Possession in Florida? The legislature’s ban on smoking medical marijuana is unlikely to be the last word on the subject. John Morgan, the Florida attorney who was a key supporter of the original constitutional amendment, said he would “be suing the state to allow smoke,” which he said was always the intent of the measure. But at least for now, possessing a joint is still a crime under federal and state law, even with a doctor’s authorization. If you or a family member are in legal trouble for possession of marijuana, you need to speak with a qualified Orlando criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced drug crimes lawyers.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Marijuana

Recreational Use of Marijuana Is Still Illegal

There is still quite a bit of confusion over recent changes to Florida’s marijuana laws. Last year, voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that permits the use of “medical cannabis” with a physician’s approval. Unfortunately, Florida legislators have not been able to agree on specific regulations to implement the amendment, and unless a special session is held, the state Department of Health may be forced to come up with rules on its own. The State of (Non-Medical) Marijuana Law in Florida Some people might think the medical marijuana amendment also means that recreational marijuana use is now legal or somehow “less illegal” than before. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana–i.e., “possession for personal use”–remains a misdemeanor under Florida law. If convicted, a person faces up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, if a person manufactures, sells, or possess marijuana with the intent to sell, they can be prosecuted for a third-degree felony, where conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. It is also important to remember that marijuana remains illegal under federal drug control laws, even for medical purposes expressly permitted under state law. Given conflicting federal and state rules, many Florida businesses have made it clear they do not welcome medical marijuana use on their property. For example, Walt Disney World in Orlando recently added marijuana to the list of items prohibited in their theme parks. Possible Vote on Recreational Marijuana in 2018? But could Florida eventually move in the direction of states like Colorado, which permit adults to possess a limited number of marijuana plants and carry up to 1 ounce while traveling? A group called Floridians for Freedom has proposed a new amendment to the state constitution that would “guarantee the right of persons over 21 years of age to possess, use, and cultivate cannabis” under rules prescribed by the state legislature. Getting a constitutional amendment approved in Florida is not a quick or easy process. Supporters must gather signatures from a number equal to at least 8 percent of the people who voted in last year’s presidential election just to qualify a proposed amendment for the ballot. According to the Florida Secretary of State, the “Right of Adults to Cannabis” amendment currently has about 9,500 signatures out of the 766,200 required, or just over 1.2 percent of the necessary amount. The deadline to gather all required signatures in time for the 2018 general election is February 1, 2018. Have You Been Charged With Marijuana Possession in the Orlando Area? So it will still be some time before we see any possible change to Florida laws governing recreational marijuana use. If you or a family member are facing a drug charge, you need to work with an qualified Orlando criminal defense attorney who can advise of your rights and options. Call Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with one of our experienced drug crimes lawyers.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

THC DUI Blood Test Bill Proposed in Florida

Florida legislators continue to struggle with last year’s decision by voters to legalize medicinal cannabis through an amendment to the state constitution. Some legislators, concerned that medical marijuana might lead to a rash of people “driving while stoned,” have proposed new laws to expand existing DUI laws to cover THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. However, medical and law enforcement experts caution that alcohol and marijuana are not interchangeable, and methods used to detect the former will not work the latter. Are Blood Tests Effective for Marijuana? On January 12, state Rep. David Silvers of West Palm Beach filed House Bill 237, a measure that would expand Florida’s existing DIU laws to cover driving under the influence of THC. Specifically, HB 237 proposes that a person is illegally “driving under the influence” if he or she has a “blood level of 5 nanograms or more” of THC per “milliliter of blood.” This would apply to both operating a motor vehicle or a boat. Thousands of bills are introduced every year in the Florida legislature. Most are never passed and die while pending before a committee or subcommittee. Silvers’ HB 237 was referred to a House subcommittee on January 23 and has not been acted upon since. One reason for the lack of action may be the questionable science behind using blood tests to determine whether a marijuana user is incapable of safely operating a car or boat. Law enforcement has decades of proven experience using blood and breath tests for alcohol impairment. But THC is a much different creature than alcohol. According to a 2016 report from NPR, while “[m]easuring the volume of alcohol in one part of your body can predictably tell you how much is in any other part of your body,” the same is not true of THC. Marijuana intoxication does not work as uniformly. For one thing, THC is soluble in fat, which means it can accumulate in fatty tissues–such as the brain–even after it has left the person’s bloodstream. And if THC is consumed without smoking it–e.g., eating a “pot brownie”–there will be no trace of it whatsoever in the blood. As one researcher told NPR, state legislators want to come up with “one number” to define marijuana intoxication–as HB 237 does with “5 nanograms”–but the science simply does not support such a standard. The researcher noted that while “[o]ccasional users can be very impaired at one microgram per liter,” chronic users, including possibly individuals taking prescribed medical cannabis, “will be over one microgram per liter maybe for weeks.” Have You Been Charged With an Orlando DUI? Given the state of the science, HB 237 is unlikely to become law in is present form. Even its sponsor told the Miami New Times that he “had not reviewed studies” on the issue and was open to amending the bill. Remember, even without this legislation, DUI based on alcohol remains a serious criminal offense. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it is imperative you speak with a qualified Orlando criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150 to speak with a lawyer right away.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Marijuana

Florida Legislative Update Cannabis Edition

With Florida voting to legalize medical marijuana by amending the constitution our legislators are at work trying to craft laws that will regulate this new industry.  At this time we are still in the infancy of this process.  Both senate and house bills are working their way through various committees and being amended.  In fact it appears that there are about seven different bills that have been proposed with various amendments attached to all of them. Senate Bill 406 does seem to be moving along and is gaining to traction.  This bill was sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley.  The bill seems to increase the number of nursery licenses available immediately and also provides for an increase in licenses as the number of patients increase statewide.  There are a number of other bills that have been proposed and nothing has passed in either the House or the Senate. From my review of the various bills there does appear one common thread which is a limitation on the number of nurseries that will be given a license to grow cannabis.  I can certainly understand the idea of regulating this industry and ensuring that any company that gets a license meets very strict criteria and is continuously monitored.  What I do not understand is why we are letting the government pick the winners in the business.  Currently there are 7 approved nurseries and the proposed legislation is only increasing that number by a few.  As the Miami New Times put it “Rather than open the medical-pot business up to the so-called free market, state legislators are basically creating a seven-company weed cartel.” Interestingly, two of our Florida congressmen are trying to change marijuana laws on the national level.  Darren Soto, a Democrat, and Matt Gaetz, a Republican, have proposed H.R. 2020 which is a bill that would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule 1 substance to a Schedule 3 substance.  This change would allow for more medical and scientific research, make it easier for ill patients to obtain, and would ease banking restrictions that are currently in place.  If you are interested in following this piece of proposed legislation, you can do so here.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Marijuana

The Business of Cannabis is Coming to Florida

The LEGAL marijuana business is a $6 billion dollar industry.  Yes, that billion with a “B”.  No that doesn’t include the ounce you bought off the guy on the street.  I am talking strictly about the legal commercialization of cannabis for both medical and recreational use.  This relatively new legal market will continue to gain new customers who were former illegal users.  In fact the legal marijuana industry may grow to $50 billion within the next decade. Twenty-six states and Washington DC have some sort of marijuana legalization, either recreational, medicinal, or both.  There are seven states plus Washington DC that have legalized pot for recreational use.  If you are in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maine, or Massachusetts you can or will soon be able to purchase marijuana for recreational use. Cannabis is big business and only getting bigger It looks like this trend will continue and some businesses in Florida will reap the reward.  In fact there is one company that is already capitalizing on their license to grow cannabis.  The Chesnut Hill Tree Farm in Alachua County was one of only seven nurseries that were issued a license to grow cannabis.  Now the Canadian company Aphria is buying them out for $25 million dollars.  I can only imagine that every pot dealer who has been convicted of selling or growing weed is currently pulling their hair out.  You’d have to sell a lot of dime bags to equal $25,000,000.   Marijuana business in Florida will only continue to expand Doctors will be making money issuing prescriptions for medical marijuana, dispensaries will open their doors all over the state, and nurseries will grow the medical marijuana.  That is only a few of the business that will be getting in on the soon to be legal drug.  There will be apps associated with different dispensaries and social media companies will get in on the action.  A lot will be changing about how Florida treats marijuana and there will be a lot of people making money on the deal.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Take Two of These and Call me in the Morning: Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Laws

On January 3, 2017, Amendment 2 expanded the qualifying medical conditions for obtaining medical marijuana. The Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use is the government agency responsible for creating the regulatory structure for Medical Marijuana.  The development of these new regulations are still in the works.   So, in the meantime, we are still stuck with the old Florida Statute for low THC and medical use – Florida Statute 381.986: A physician is authorized to order low-THC cannabis to treat a qualified patient suffering from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms; order low-THC cannabis to alleviate symptoms of such disease, disorder, or condition… The Department of Heath Office of Compassionate Use has been working on drafting the new regulations.  The latest version of the new statute (which has not yet been finalized) defines the qualifying conditions for distribution as: (e) “Qualifying debilitating medical condition” shall mean conditions eligible for physician ordering contained in s. 381.986(2), F.S., or cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis. Also, any debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, as determined by the Florida Board of Medicine. Only a qualified physician under the statute and rules set out by the Office of Compassionate Use are authorized to make the diagnosis and provide the patient with a script for medical marijuana.   The Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use has six months to implement the new law and nine months to begin issuing identification cards under the law. In the meantime, the grow houses and dispensaries will be setting up shop for a boom of business to the State of Florida.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Understanding Expungements and Sealed Records

When we are young, we tend to be wild and free. Most youth do not question nor consider the impact of that their actions presently will have on their future. However, youthful bliss and its carefree nature can leave you with life altering consequences. For instance when you are arrested and/or charged with a crime you will have a criminal record. Criminal records follow you a lifetime, and often times are the reason you are turned down from job opportunities, housing, as well as professional licensing. Though you may be frustrated or even feeling like you cannot progress in life because of your criminal record, there may still be hope. If you or a loved one have been unable to progress in life because of your criminal record contact an experienced Florida expungement attorney today to consult about your record. Expungements vs. Sealed Records in Florida Those who have a criminal record know how hard it is to get jobs and even housing and though this can be frustrating, options do exist. In Florida, you have the right to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Expungements are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.0585 , while sealed records are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.059. Though you may think differently, expungements and sealed records are not the same thing and depending on which one you receive determines who can see your criminal record and who cannot. If your criminal record has been dismissed, if the charges were dropped or if there was no information filed then you may be eligible to get your record expunged, meaning the court will order the clerk, the arresting agency and FDLE to destroy the arrest records. This can be extremely beneficial to you because it should appear that your past actions never happened at all. When your record is sealed, the public, such as landlords and employers, do not have access to your record but governmental agencies will have access to it. It is important to note, that if you have previously had your record expunged or sealed, whether in Florida or another state, you will not be eligible for another expungement or seal. Though expungement and seal laws may seem straightforward, it can become quite complicated; therefore, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice. Need Legal Advice? Having a criminal record could make your life more difficult when you are maturing and progressing in life. Criminal records can keep you from getting a job, obtaining housing, as well as keep you from your inherent rights such as voting or owning a firearm. Frustrating as it may be, you have options. If you or a loved one would like your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is best to speak with an attorney about your case. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.  

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