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Marijuana - Close does not count in criminal law

Although Florida added a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, the possession of marijuana without a medical card is still a criminal offense. Possession of less than twenty (20) grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine. Simple possession of over twenty (20) grams is felony with up to five (5) years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

A recent court challenge to this unusual scenario argued that the crime of possession of marijuana could not be committed because Florida's criminal law, which classifies cannabis as a substance that has no medical use, is in direct conflict with the medical marijuana amendment to the Florida Constitution which dealt with the production, possession, and use of medical marijuana. This writer is presuming that the defendant did not have a medical marijuana card because the Court's opinion was based upon the constitutionality of the Florida marijuana laws and having a medical necessity does not appear to have been argued.

The Court quickly noted that while the Florida Constitution, provides for the production, possession, and use of medical marijuana. "[T]he amendment specifically states nothing in this section allows for a violation of any law other than for conduct in compliance with the provisions of this section...". This includes those sections of the law not impacted by the amendment. Furthermore, for any amendment to be a defense to a criminal accusation, the amendment must be intended to have that effect.

This all means that while some may aruge that marijuana is close to legal in Florida, close does not count in criminal law. To hire a lawyer to strategize specific to your case, please click, call or fill out the form.

1D17-4201. October 18, 2018

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