While other states such as Colorado, California, and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, this substance continues to be illegal in the state of Florida. Because of the growing trend to decriminalize or legalize it across the U.S., however, it has become less subject to enforcement in Florida. Furthermore, local municipalities and counties have decriminalized it, turning the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana into a citation as opposed to a misdemeanor involving potential jail time and heavy fines. This has freed up law enforcement and state prosecutors to put their resources into the pursuit and prosecution of other crimes instead of simple possession of marijuana.
Facing a marijuana or other drug arrest in Florida? Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at (800) 822-5170 to arrange for a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Marijuana Crimes in Florida
Medical marijuana became legal in the state in 2016 allowing many individuals to qualify for it under state requirements that are comparatively relaxed. Additionally, hemp, also referred to as low-THC cannabis, was legalized statewide in 2019. These two events have led to the relaxation of simple marijuana possession enforcement along with its decriminalization in local counties and cities throughout the state.
What is considered “simple possession?” State law defines it as 20 grams or less which is charged as a misdemeanor. Possession of any amount above that is still considered a felony. How you are punished for felony possession will depend on the amount of marijuana in your possession. Fines can range from $5,000 up to $200,000 while incarceration can range from three to 30 years.
Local Municipality Decriminalization
The counties and cities across the state that have decriminalized simple possession of marijuana include the following:
- Alachua County
- Broward County
- Coca Beach
- Hallandale Beach
- Key West
- Miami Beach
- Miami-Dade County
- Osceola County
- Palm Beach County
- Port Richey
- Volusia County
- West Palm Beach County
In these areas, possession of 20 grams or less is generally considered a civil citation that involves minor fines without jail time. The fines across these areas range from $75 to $155 with $100 being the most common. Some of the areas have “cite and release” policies that mean law enforcement tickets the individual with a misdemeanor. The individual then must promise on the ticket to appear in court after which the officer lets the individual go.
Other Marijuana Crimes in Florida
Other marijuana crimes are more serious in that they involve larger amounts of the substance that can be used for sale, distribution, cultivation, and trafficking. Being found in possession of more than 25 pounds can involve trafficking laws and result in up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Other state laws include the crime of possession of paraphernalia which is charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession, sale, or delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a restricted zone, such as a school, park, or playground, is also a separate felony crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Need Criminal Defense Legal Representation in Florida?
If you have been arrested for a crime involving marijuana, other drugs, or any other allegedly unlawful behavior, you should obtain legal representation as soon as possible. It’s best to ensure that your legal rights are protected, that you do not make any inadvertent mistakes that could harm your case, and to ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the criminal justice proceedings. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A. our experienced and dedicated legal team can work to increase your chances for a positive outcome, ranging from reduced penalties to a possible case dismissal. Let us put our knowledge, skills, and resources to work for you.
Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at (800) 822-5170 to set up a consultation today.