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Understanding the strict penalties for marijuana in Florida

It may seem to you that every couple of months, another state has legalized marijuana for recreational use, or decriminalized cannabis at the very least. With Florida being such an entertainment-centered state, you might think the law would be lenient toward those who favor marijuana. However, this is not the case. In fact, marijuana penalties in Florida are among the harshest in the nation.

Many states that have not yet legalized marijuana have decriminalized the use of small amounts, treating pot smoking as an infraction rather than a crime. Not so in Florida, where if you are caught with marijuana, you may face the following consequences:

  • A misdemeanor charge for possessing 20 grams or less of cannabis, including a fine and up to one year in jail
  • A felony charge for possessing between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana, including a five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • Suspension of driver's license

In addition, other charges related to trafficking and/or delivery of marijuana may come into play, depending on the amount of marijuana involved.

What about medical marijuana?

What if you rely on marijuana to manage severe pain and other symptoms from serious medical conditions? Marijuana has at least been accepted for medicinal purposes in Florida, but you would first need to be approved by a qualified practitioner and obtain your cannabis from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Some of the conditions permitted for medical marijuana use include HIV and AIDS, cancer, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. You might also be approved for medicinal marijuana if you suffer from what the medical community describes as chronic, malignant pain.

It is important to understand the laws about marijuana in Florida to avoid criminal charges.

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