Clearing The Haze On The New Marijuana Laws
On November 6, Colorado and Washington State passed laws making the recreational use of marijuana legal. While this is a victory for the occasional marijuana user there are still many uncertainties.
Hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana cases have already been dropped and many Colorado and Washington police departments have stopped charging adults 21 years and older for small-scale possession. But because marijuana possession is still a federal crime, the question remains – if you are caught with marijuana will you be arrested? The answer depends less on the law and more on the location.
Liberal jurisdictions in Colorado will not bring up any charges but prosecutors in more conservative precincts have vowed to press ahead with existing marijuana cases and are still citing people for possession. Additionally, several towns in the Denver suburbs are voting to block new, state-licensed retail marijuana shops from opening in their communities. And so far, the Justice Department has declined to discuss how it might react now that the laws have passed.
Although other states like California, Oregon and Massachusetts have decriminalized marijuana use, possession of the drug is still a serious crime in Florida. If you are caught with 20 grams or less it is a misdemeanor and everything else is a felony:
Under Florida law, possession of 25 or more plants (formerly 300 plants) is prima facie evidence of intent to sell or distribute, and is a second-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of greater than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
The delivery of 20 grams or less of marijuana for no consideration is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Sale, delivery or cultivation of any other amount up to 25 pounds is a felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Sale, delivery or cultivation of greater than 25 pounds is considered trafficking, and all trafficking offenses have mandatory minimum sentences. For less than 2,000 pounds or less than 2,000 plants, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a fine of $25,000. For less than 10,000 pounds or less than 10,000 plants there is a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a fine of $50,000. For 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants or greater, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of $200,000.
Any sale or delivery occurring within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public park, public housing, daycare center, or church is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. The possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. *
These laws are enough to scare you straight. That is why it is critical for you to get legal help if you have been arrested for marijuana possession. The consequences are serious and may haunt you in the future. People charged with marijuana possession may have a permanent criminal record. Employers, apartment managers and schools will have access to your record.
A good drug lawyer will be proactive in your defense and work hard to reduce the consequences and penalties of your actions. If you have been charged with a marijuana possession in Florida, don’t let your future go up in smoke – hire a good drug attorney immediately.
* Source: Date from NORML – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
West Palm Beach Drug Charges Attorney
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.