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Fall 2019 Marijuana-Related Criminal Legislation Introduced in Florida

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We previously discussed legislation introduced in Florida to decriminalize the possession of certain amounts of marijuana without the need to first obtain a license for medical marijuana. Florida has, indeed, experienced a number of changes recently that affect the prosecution of marijuana crimes; the most notable being hemp being removed from the list of controlled substances and this significantly affecting what law enforcement can do in terms of search and seizure when it comes to marijuana products as well.

In October, a number of new bills were introduced by state legislators that would both lay the foundation for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and provide law enforcement with additional legal justifications for arresting people here in Florida. Below, we discuss some of these current bills and what you should be aware of in terms of how they adjust what is considered to be a crime:

SB 670: Smoking Marijuana in State Parks

One lawmaker is now seeking to expand what has already been passed in the City of Miami Beach – a ban on smoking marijuana in public – statewide, except that this bill would ban both the smoking and vaping of “all kinds within state parks,” which implies that law enforcement could try to claim that they have sufficient probable cause, regardless of whether someone has hemp or marijuana.

HB 339: Minimum Sentences for Marijuana Crimes

This bill would allow judges to deviate from minimum sentencing requirements regarding criminal sentencing for the sale and trafficking of marijuana, while also upholding thresholds for increased charges when it comes to the number of grams of cannabis required to bring trafficking charges.

HB 149: Companies That Can Legally Grow and Sell Cannabis

This bill would do a number of things, including:

  • Define medical marijuana treatment centers
  • Alter how the Florida Department of Health would provide licenses to dispensaries and growers
  • Remove the cap of 25 facilities per license
  • Remove the current limit on the number of applicants

HB 25: Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Crimes

This bill not only decriminalizes the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana (i.e. turns it into a noncriminal violation–like certain parking violations–instead of a misdemeanor), but also reduces all criminal penalties associated with possession of marijuana and THC products and ensures that juveniles, in particular, are eligible for civil citations and diversion programs, overall significantly reducing the number of people incarcerated for marijuana possession charges.

SB 212: Businesses Selling Edible & Medical Marijuana Products

This bill revises the definition of edibles, low-THC cannabis products, marijuana, and marijuana delivery devices so as to incorporate medical marijuana retail facilities and treatment centers and the products found there. In other words, it essentially authorizes them to sell (but not produce) these products under a new set of requirements by working with treatment centers to obtain the products. It also makes it illegal for caregivers and physicians to profit from a medical marijuana facility.

Contact Our Florida Defense Attorney with Any Questions

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related crime here in Florida, contact our experienced West Palm Beach drug offenses attorney at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. to find out how we can use our expertise to ensure that your rights are protected in this changing climate.

Resource:

miaminewtimes.com/marijuana/florida-marijuana-laws-five-bills-that-would-change-the-states-cannabis-regulations-11309281

https://www.wallsheinlaw.com/florida-may-be-on-the-verge-of-changing-how-it-treats-drug-offenses-sentencing/

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