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An Initiative to Legalize Marijuana and 5 Worst States To Get Busted With Pot

In November this year Colorado and Washington voters passed an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use (source). “The world of voters spoke and we heard them,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Obviously, the majority felt it should be treated more like alcohol,” he added.

But there’s a big catch: marijuana is still listed as a Schedule One drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which makes it every bit as illegal as heroin. Gov. Hickenlooper is aware of the challenge: “If we can’t legalize it, how do we decriminalize it? How do we get as close as we can to the will of the voters? It’s not immediately apparent,” he told Scott Pelley in an interview early Wednesday morning.

The Justice Department weighed in on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, issuing identical statements in Denver and Seattle. “The Department of Justice’s reinforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” the statement said. “The department is reviewing the ballot initiative here and in other states and has no additional comment at this time.”

Police prosecute over 850,000 Americans annually for violating state marijuana laws. The penalties for those busted and convicted vary greatly, ranging from the imposition of small fines to license revocation to potential incarceration. But for the citizens arrested in these five states (source), the ramifications of even a minor pot bust are likely to be exceptionally severe.

5 Worst States To Get Busted With Pot

Source-by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

1. Oklahoma — Lawmakers in the Sooner State made headlines this spring when legislators voted 119 to 20 in favor of House Bill 1798, which enhances the state sentencing guidelines for hash manufacturing to a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum penalty of life in prison. (Mary Fallin, the state’s first-ever female governor, signed the measure into law in April; it takes effect on November 1, 2011.) But longtime Oklahoma observers were hardly surprised at lawmakers’ latest “life for pot” plan. After all, state law already allows judges to hand out life sentences for those convicted of cannabis cultivation or for the sale of a single dime-bag.

2. Texas — On an annual basis, no state arrests and criminally prosecutes more of its citizens for pot than does Texas. Marijuana arrests comprise over half of all annual arrests in the Lone Star State. It is easy to see why. In 2009, more than 97 percent of all Texas marijuana arrests — over 77,000 people — were for possession only. Those convicted face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, even upon a first conviction.

3. Florida — According to a 2009 state-by-state analysis by researcher and former NORML Director Jon Gettman, no other state routinely punishes minor marijuana more severely than does the Sunshine State. Under Florida law, marijuana possession of 20 grams or less (about two-thirds of an ounce) is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Marijuana possession over 20 grams, as well as the cultivation of even a single pot plant, are defined by law as felony offenses – punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In recent years, state lawmakers have revisited the state’s marijuana penalties – in each case electing to enhance Florida’s already toughest-in-the-nation criminal punishments.

4. Louisiana — In Louisiana, multi-decade (or even life) sentences for repeat pot offenders are hardly a rare occurrence. Under Louisiana law, a second pot possession conviction is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison. Three-time offenders face up to 20 years in prison. According to a 2008 expose published in New Orleans City Business online, district attorneys are not hesitant to “target small-time marijuana users, sometimes caught with less than a gram of pot, and threaten them with lengthy prison sentences.”

5. Arizona — Forty years ago virtually every state in the nation defined marijuana possession as a felony offense. Today, only one state, Arizona, treats first-time pot possession in such an archaic and punitive manner. Under Arizona law, even minor marijuana possession offenses may be prosecuted as felony crimes, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine. According to Jon Gettman’s 2009 analysis only Florida consistently treats minor marijuana possession cases more severely.

Florida Penalty Details
Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession of 20 grams or less 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 is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • Possession of 25 or more plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of $10,000. Possession of less than 25 plant is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Please see:

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 § 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 lbs. or less is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • The sale of 25 lbs.-2,000 lbs. (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 lbs.-10,000 lbs. (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 lbs. 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.

Please see:

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

SOURCE- norml.org

West Palm Beach Marijuana Grow House Defense Attorney

An increasing phenomenon in Florida is the presence of Marijuana grow houses. Garages, abandoned trailers, old houses and sheds are all used to grow and cultivate Marijuana for sale and distribution. People charged with growing Marijuana face mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least three years, fines, and possibly, a felony criminal record.

In Florida, the consequences for growing Marijuana are serious and remain with you in the future. Employers, apartment managers and schools will have access to your criminal record. A good lawyer will be proactive in your defense and work hard to reduce the consequences and penalties of your actions.

The law office of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., is committed to representing those charged with growing marijuana and other drug crimes. We have extensive experience representing clients with drug charges and know what it takes to form an effective defense. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Discovering Grow Houses

Many drug cases involve an informant. The police will send an undercover agent or use someone to enter in the house and look around for signs of mass production of Marijuana. Police also discover grow houses by noticing a sharp increase in energy bills. Growing Marijuana plants requires a large amount of light and heat. This spikes energy needs and alerts energy companies and law enforcement about suspicious activity.

Our defense team has a thorough understanding of how law enforcement officials discover grow houses and what evidence is needed to prosecute our clients. If any evidence is obtained through illegal search and seizure or obtained by police trickery, we will file a motion to suppress the evidence and to dismiss the case.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300 Se habla español.

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