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Possession of Marijuana in Florida

In Florida, it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription.

In Florida, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance and it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription.

Importantly, cannabis concentrates, such as such as cannabis resin, cannabis wax, cannabis oil, hashish oil, cannabis budder, and cannabis crumble do not fall under the legal definition of cannabis in Florida and are prosecuted as a separate felony crime.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The penalties for marijuana possession depend on whether you are charged with possession of less than twenty grams of marijuana, which is considered misdemeanor possession, or possession of twenty grams or more of marijuana, which is considered felony possession.

Penalties for Possession of less than 20 grams of Marijuana

In Florida, the crime of Possession of less than 20 grams of Cannabis is a First Degree Misdemeanor and punishable by up to one (1) year in jail, one (1) year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.

A judge may sentence a person convicted of Possession of less than 20 grams of Cannabis to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of one year in jail.

Penalties for Possession of 20 grams or more of Marijuana

The crime of Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis is a Third Degree Felony and punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code and a judge may sentence a person convicted of Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of five years in prison.

Driver License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of Cannabis will have their driver’s license or driving privilege suspended for six months by the Florida DHSMV .

Defenses to Marijuana Possession

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific and common defenses to the crime of Possession of Marijuana are:

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Constructive Possession

If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Marijuana: [2]

  1. Knowledge of the cannabis’ presence;
  2. Dominion and control over the cannabis.

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Marijuana.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend’s car and police found cannabis in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana unless they had some proof that you knew the cannabis was present.

Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes his personal stash of weed and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend’s stash, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana because even though you knew the marijuana was there, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Marijuana if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was cannabis. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance’s illegal nature. [3]

Medical Necessity

The defense of medical necessity can be used when a person suffers from a physical illness or ailment for which there was no lawful medication available to properly treat the illness or ailment and cannabis was the only substance that could relieve the pain or suffering of the person. [4]

Overdose Defense

A person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose that needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Marijuana if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. [5]

Prescription Defense

While it seems obvious, many people are arrested for possession of cannabis when they are unable to produce a medical marijuana use registry identification card that was valid at the time of arrest. These arrests usually occur when law enforcement have stopped you for suspicious behavior and discover the cannabis stored in a suspicious manner or without any proof of a validly issued medical marijuana card from the State of Florida.

However, if you can produce a valid medical marijuana use registry identification card that was issued prior to your arrest, the charge will be dismissed. [6]

Temporary Possession

The defense of temporary possession can be raised where a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of cannabis from the true owner. Under such circumstances, the person is not considered to be in legal possession of the cannabis because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the cannabis. [7]

Examples of temporary possession are when a person is handed cannabis by the true owner and asked to hide it during a police encounter, such as a traffic stop; or when holding cannabis in the presence of a drug dealer for the sole purpose of verifying or testing the cannabis prior to purchasing it; or when passing the cannabis from the owner to a third person.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of Cannabis in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

Possession of Marijuana in Florida In Florida, it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription. In Florida, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance and it is a

Florida Laws and Penalties

Possession

Hash & Concentrates

Paraphernalia

Miscellaneous

Penalty Details

Possession

Possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Any person who is knowingly in active or constructive possession of 25 pounds or less of cannabis is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Any person who is knowingly in active or constructive possession of more than 25 pounds – 2,000 pounds of cannabis (or 300-2,000 plants) is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Any person who is knowingly in active or constructive possession of 2,000 pounds – less than 10,000 pounds of cannabis (or 2,000-10,000 plants) is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $50,000.

Any person who is knowingly in active or constructive possession of 10,000 pounds of cannabis or more is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $200,000.

Sale or delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified areas is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13(h)(3) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.03)(1)(c)(7) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.135 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.082(a) Web Search
Sale/Delivery

The delivery of 20 grams or less without remuneration is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.
The sale of 25 pounds or less of cannabis is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The sale of more than 25 pounds- less than 2,000 pounds of cannabis (or 300-2,000 plants) is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

The sale of 2,000 pounds – less than 10,000 pounds of cannabis (or 2,000-10,000 plants) is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $50,000.

The sale of 10,000 pounds or more of cannabis is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $200,000.

Sale or delivery of cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified areas is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.03(c)(35) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.135 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.082(a) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.083(1) Web Search
Hash & Concentrates

Hashish or concentrates are considered schedule I narcotics in Florida.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.03(1)(c) Web Search

Possession of hashish or concentrates is a felony in the third degree. A felony of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years and a fine no greater than $5,000.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13(6)(b) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.083(1)(c), (d) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.082(3)(d) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.082(4)(a) Web Search

Possessing more than 3 grams of hash, selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver, hashish or concentrates is a felony of the third degree. A felony of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years and a fine no greater than $5,000.

The offense is charged as a felony of the second degree if the offense occurred:

  • Within 1,000 feet of a child care facility between 6 A.M. and 12 midnight;
  • Within 1,000 feet of a park or community center;
  • Within 1,000 feet of a college, university or other postsecondary educational institute;
  • Within 1,000 feet of any church or place of worship that conducts religious activities;
  • Within 1,000 feet of any convenience business;
  • Within 1,000 feet of public housing;
  • Within 1,000 feet or an assisted living facility.

A felony of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment no greater than 15 years and a fine no greater than $10,000.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13(1)(a)(2) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.13 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.083(1)(b), (c) Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.082(3)(c), (d) Web Search
  • Rutherford v. State, 386 So.2d 881 (Fla. 1980). Web Search

Florida defines any product, equipment, or device used to make hashish or concentrates as drug paraphernalia.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.145 Web Search
Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor in the first degree, punishable by a maximum sentence of one 1-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 775.083 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.145 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.145 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 893.147 Web Search
Miscellaneous

Conviction causes a driver’s license suspension for a period of 1 year.

  • Florida Criminal Code § 322.055 Web Search
  • Florida Criminal Code § 322.056 Web Search
More Information
Drugged Driving

Every state criminalizes driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Some jurisdictions also impose additional per se laws. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Read further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available online.

Local Decriminalization

This state has local jurisdictions that have enacted municipal laws or resolutions either fully or partially decriminalizing minor cannabis possession offenses.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical CBD

This state has passed a medical CBD law allowing for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC in instances where a physician has recommended such treatment to a patient with a state-qualifying condition.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Florida Laws and Penalties Possession Hash & Concentrates Paraphernalia Miscellaneous Penalty Details Possession Possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor