Using & Possessing Marijuana May No Longer Be a Drug Offense in Florida
In late February, Florida state lawmakers filed bills to legalize and tax the recreational use of marijuana in Florida, thereby moving towards decriminalizing the drug. The substance would be legal to use by anyone over the age of 21, and the legislation also outlines any fees associated with marijuana-related businesses if it is legalized.
What Would Be Legal? Could You Still Be Charged With A Crime?
Specifically, the following activities would now be legal and, under these circumstances, would no longer be considered drug offenses in Florida:
- Possessing and using up to 2.5 ounces if you are 21 years or older; and
- Growing up to six marijuana plants; where
- Any minors found with marijuana would face non criminal violations (starting with a fine of $200); and
- Although citizens would not be allowed to smoke in public, it would not be criminalized either; rather, it would be a $100 civil penalty; whereby
- Licensed businesses could produce and sell the substance after paying an establishment license application fee of around $5,000.
Regulations & Sales
The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco would regulate sales throughout the state and Florida would collect sales tax from these sales. Revenue from the sales would also go to a number of state agencies, including the Department of Education and the Department of Health.
If the bills are ultimately signed into law, it is expected that marijuana businesses could begin processing the product as of August 2020. Still, the number of marijuana retailers and stores would be controlled, whereby there would be one pot retailer allowed per 5,000-person population and two retail stores per population of between 5,001 and 19,999 people. Stores would also be barred from selling the products within 500 feet of any schools and between 1 and 6 am.
What about Medical Marijuana?
In spite of a Florida constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana being approved by voters several years ago, and a judge declaring interventions on it to be unconstitutional, there are still implementation problems associated with medical marijuana in place here in Florida, as lawmakers banned smokable forms of the substance in 2017. Florida citizens now need lawmakers to act on already-drafted legislation that would allow people to smoke marijuana for medical reasons.
Contact Our Florida Drug Offense Lawyers to Find Out More
If you have been caught in possession of marijuana or any other controlled substance, and may be charged with a drug offense, contact our West Palm Beach drug offenses attorneys at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today to ensure that you work with the very best in order to protect your rights. Criminal charges and a defendant’s rights can be vague and uncertain, particularly when a substance like marijuana is in transition between being classified as illegal versus legal.