The subject of the legalization of marijuana has become a hot-button issue in recent years, with several states legalizing it for medical usage, and a few even legalizing it for recreational use. While marijuana usage for recreational purposes is still illegal in Florida, the Florida legislature approved the use of low-THC and non-smoked cannabis for patients suffering from certain types of illnesses in 2014. This was recently expanded by a constitutional amendment that was passed with overwhelming support in November of 2016 to include patients suffering from terminal illnesses and allowing certain patients to access higher strength marijuana.

Thus, the legal landscape surrounding marijuana in Florida has now diverged into two tracks: medical and recreational. Let’s take a look at both.

Medical Use

Under certain conditions, marijuana is legal for medical purposes in Florida. Amendment 2, passed in November of 2016, allows the legal usage of marijuana to treat the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Terminal illnesses

The amendment also places certain limitations on medical marijuana use. Most notably, home cultivation is still illegal. There is also a limit on the strength of marijuana that patients can access. Except for patients suffering from terminal illnesses, the law permits cannabis strains containing no more than eight-tenths of one percent of THC. Terminally ill patients may obtain stronger strains, but they must obtain them from a state-licensed dispensary. In addition to suffering one of the above illnesses, a patient must also have had a relationship with one of the 200 doctors in Florida who are licensed to prescribe marijuana for three months prior to obtaining a prescription for medical marijuana.

Recreational Use

Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Florida. For casual recreational users, the possession of 20 grams or fewer of marijuana is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Any possession over 20 grams is a felony and, depending on how much marijuana is actually possessed, can be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine (in very rare, extreme cases). Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is also illegal and is treated the same as the lowest level of marijuana possession—a misdemeanor with jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000

Contact a St. Petersburg Drug Charge Attorney 

While the law concerning the medical usage of marijuana has been relaxed, recreational marijuana usage remains illegal. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, please contact the attorneys at the Khonsari Law Group for a free consultation by calling us at 727-269-5300.

1 http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/01/03/florida-medical-marijuana-goes-into-effect/70525/

2 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article124393619.html