What Are the Charges for Marijuana Possession in Florida?


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Unlike many other states, Florida has not decreased its potential punishments or reclassified marijuana as a less serious drug at the time of publication. Possession of marijuana even in small amounts can lead to significant penalties.

Marijuana Possession up to 20 Grams

In Florida, marijuana possession up to 20 grams is considered a misdemeanor offense. It carries a maximum penalty of up to one year of incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.

More than 20 Grams to 25 Pounds

Possession between 20 grams and 25 pounds is considered a felony in Florida. It can result in imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $5,000.

More than 25 Pounds to Less than 2,000 Pounds

For this amount of marijuana, the potential punishment is between three and fifteen years and a fine of up to $25,000. Florida uses mandatory minimum sentences. The three years is the mandatory minimum sentence.

2,000 Pounds to Less than 10,000 Pounds

This crime can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, up to 30 years imprisonment and a fine up to $50,000.

10,000 Pounds or More

Imprisonment includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, up to 30 years and a fine of up to $200,000 if convicted.

Plants

If the defendant was in possession of cannabis plants, he or she will face serious consequences. The possible punishment is based on the number of plants with less than 25 plants resulting in imprisonment up to 5 years with a fine up to $5,000 to more than 2,000 plants resulting in a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, up to 30 years and a $50,000 fine.

Hash and Concentrates

Hash or concentrates are considered schedule 1 narcotics in the state. Being in possession of hash or concentrate can result in a third degree felony conviction of up to 5 years and a fine up to $5,000.

Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia can result in a misdemeanor conviction with up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Hemp

Hemp is a different variety of the cannabis plant that results in a lower concentration of THC that is found in marijuana. This ingredient is used for other purposes than drugs.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is permitted in Florida. The state has a medical CBD law that permits the use of cannabis extracts that have high CBD and low THC for any medical condition for which a physician recommends it. Cannabis has been studied in medical applications for the relief or treatment of pain, nausea, glaucoma, tumors and other medical conditions.

Increased Penalties

These punishments can be greater in certain circumstances, such as when the offense occurs within 1,000 feet of a school or other specified area.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

A mandatory minimum sentence is the lowest amount of imprisonment that a judge can order based on the charges against the defendant. The judge cannot legally sentence the defendant below this mandatory minimum time. Additionally, being convicted with a mandatory minimum usually means that the defendant will not be eligible for early parole.

Possession Defined

Florida defines possession as the ability to exercise the right to own, manage or control the drug. In Florida, a person can be convicted of a possession offense if he or she was in actual or constructive possession of a drug. Actual possession means that the defendant has the drug on his or her person, in a container or in a nearby location while being in control of it. The defendant must have exclusive control over the drug. Constructive possession occurs when the drug is not on the defendantís person but when the defendant has control over the drug or has otherwise concealed it.

To establish constructive possession, the prosecution must establish that the defendant has dominion or control over the drug and knows where the drug is. The knowledge of its presence can be inferred or assumed when the defendant has exclusive control over it.

Under Florida law, two or more people may be in possession of the same drug, such as when multiple people occupy a residence together. However, the prosecution is responsible for establishing that the named defendant has control over it.

Legal Assistance

A criminal defense lawyer can help individuals who are charged with possession of marijuana. It is not uncommon for people charged with possession to also be charged for more serious drug crimes, such as sell, manufacture or intent to sell drugs.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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