By Emiliana Molina
Recent polls in Florida show that more than 74% of voters support the consumption of Marijuana. Florida is a long way from fully legalizing the plant; however, in the near future medical marijuana is considered a possibility by many. Orlando Lawyer John Morgan for example, is a big supporter of legalizing weed and has spent almost $4 million to place medical marijuana on the ballot. Due to this and other initiatives, the Florida Supreme Court has approved medical marijuana to be placed on Novembers Ballot. Whether you’re pro or con towards legalizing weed, take the time to come out and vote.
What are the Marijuana Laws In Florida?
Unfortunately as of today, Florida’s Laws on possession of pot are amongst the Nation’s toughest and most unreasonable. Possessing pot whether it’s for personal use, for selling, making or whichever the case may be is considered a crime in Florida. The range of penalties for containing the drug will vary depending on the amount of weed at hand, and in accordance with the violation. One violation many people don’t know about is just like it’s illegal to drink and drive, it is also illegal to drive under the influence of pot.
According to norml.org possession of up to 20 grams is a misdemeanor and can lead to 1 year in jail as well as a $1000 fine. More than 20 grams is considered a felony and leads to a five year sentence and a $5000 fine. As the amount of weed possessed or sold increases so do the penalty and fine. Selling between 25 pounds to 2,000 pounds is considered a felony and comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. The penalties continue to rise depending on the scale of the sale or the amount of weed possessed, but this gives the public an idea of how Florida laws on marijuana function. Not to mention the harsh punishment if you’re caught selling or delivering the substance within 1,000 feet of a school, Public Park, library, college, and/or other declared areas. If caught doing so, this is considered a felony and it will get you a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of $10,000. To some these laws may be too radical, while others may find it allows consumers to double think their actions before moving forward.
According to Florida Marijuana Laws, Marijuana is currently described as a Schedule I controlled substance. This explains it is probable for the illegal substance to become highly abused and it has not been approved to be utilized for medical purposes. Until this is approved which consumers will get a chance to vote in November; the possession of Marijuana in Florida will continue to be illegal. The penalty received if caught with pot will be in accordance to the amount possessed, but having 20 grams or less will lead to a misdemeanor.
Florida laws also prohibit the manufacturing or selling of marijuana. Having the intention to grow or sell marijuana, or having a property where the manufacturing and selling take place can also lead to imprisonment. “Manufacturing, selling, or possessing marijuana with the intent to do so, is a third degree felony, punishable with up to five years in prison” (Fl. Stat. Ann. § 775.082.) The penalty will vary again depending on the amount of substance found. But penalties will lead anywhere from a minimum of three years to ten years or more.
Another important Law to keep in mind is selling marijuana to minors. Anyone over the age of 18 who sells pot to a minor, or hires him/her to sell pot to others and/or to contribute to the manufacturing of the drug will be charged with a second degree felony. The consequence is 15 years of imprisonment. Also, once pleaded guilty of charge, the sentence does not change. In other words, the years in prison may not be reduced, suspended, or alternated doing probation (Fl. Stat. Ann. §§ 893.13(4)(b)& 775.082.).
Trafficking and importing marijuana into Florida are also a big issue. Any amount of pot brought into Florida from out of state is considered a third degree felony and will lead to five years in jail.
Do you think that the marijuana laws in Florida are the way they should be or should they be changed?