Is Marijuana A Schedule I Controlled Substance Under Florida Drug Laws?
You can meticulously review the statutory language for hours, yet you will not find the term “marijuana” anywhere on the Florida statute on controlled substances standards and schedules. This is partly because the law refers to “cannabis,” but the legal issues are much more complicated than terminology. More states have moved to decriminalize pot, regulate it for medical use, and/or legalize recreational marijuana, leading to significant confusion about what constitutes a crime. Plus, federal officials have not relaxed marijuana offenses, essentially creating two separate legal systems for enforcing drug laws.
In other words, there is no easy answer to whether marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. One thing you can be sure of is that the charges can be serious depending on the underlying circumstances, so retaining a Fort Lauderdale drug crimes lawyer is critical. A summary may also help you understand how pot is subject to special treatment under Florida law.
Marijuana Possession Laws in Florida
The primary area where pot laws depart from the federal system and other state drug statutes is with possession. If you have less than 20 grams, you could be charged with a First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Up to 25 grams or under 300 plants is a Third Degree Felony, and a conviction could mean a five-year prison sentence with a $5,000 fine.
These marijuana possession laws have not changed despite Florida’s move to allow medical marijuana. If you are arrested for violating federal law, you will also face misdemeanor charges even for trace amounts.
Other Criminal Offenses Related to Marijuana
Even in states where recreational pot is legal, there are limitations on the amounts that are considered possession for personal use. Plus, other actions with respect to cannabis are crimes, so keep in mind the following points:
- Sale of marijuana is a Third Degree Felony if the amount is under 20 grams.
- Being in possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana takes the crime from possession to trafficking, a First Degree Felony.
- Sentencing will depend upon volume and your criminal history, and there are mandatory minimums under Florida law. Less than 2,000 pounds or plants could mean at least three years in prison, and the mandatory sentence for 2,000 – 10,000 of either is seven years.
- When you have more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana or the same amount of plants in your possession, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison.
Keep in mind that a judge may use discretion in ordering a sentence longer than the mandatory minimums, up to 30 years depending on the circumstances.
A Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights
If you are facing charges for marijuana possession, sales, trafficking, or other offenses, time is of the essence to consult with skilled legal counsel. To learn how we can assist, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We can schedule a consultation to assess your situation, discuss defense options, and get started on a strategy for protecting your rights.