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Is weed legal in Florida?

Marijuana legality in Florida varies. In certain instances, it is legal. Here's what you need to be aware of

Is weed legal in Florida?

As we approach the final weekend of 2023, which coincides with a significant holiday, it's worth noting that in Florida, you can legally enjoy fireworks and sparklers, among other festivities. However, before you celebrate too enthusiastically this New Year's Eve with loved ones, let's revisit Florida's stance on marijuana and its current laws.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana, as described by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, is a greenish-gray amalgamation of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, driving most sought-after intoxicating effects, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This chemical is present in the resin produced by the leaves and buds, predominantly from the female cannabis plant. The plant encompasses over 500 other chemicals, including 100-plus compounds chemically related to THC, known as cannabinoids.

Is Weed Legal In Florida?

Yes, but under specific circumstances.

In Florida, marijuana is legal solely after an individual acquires a Medical Marijuana Use Authorization, as detailed in Chapter 381 of the Florida Statutes. This legislation encompasses provisions for a user registry, caregiver possession, and treatment centers for the acquisition of consumable marijuana.
In 2016, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana with a 71% to 29% majority.

Obtaining a medical marijuana card in Florida entails a three-step process: receiving a diagnosis from a qualified physician for specific medical conditions, registering in Florida's Medical Marijuana Use Registry, and applying for a registry ID.

Legality of Recreational Marijuana in Florida: What You Need to Know

Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Florida, but a potential change may be on the horizon. A proposed amendment, sponsored by Smart & Safe Florida and backed by major medical marijuana producer Trulieve, aims to legalize recreational marijuana use for individuals aged 21 and older, allowing possession of up to 3 ounces. However, the amendment faced a challenge from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody in November, who argued that it failed to clarify the federal prohibition of marijuana. The Florida Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the case by April 1, 2024. If approved, Floridians may vote on recreational marijuana legalization on November 5, 2024, coinciding with the presidential election.

Distinguishing Recreational Marijuana from Medical Marijuana: An Overview

Recreational marijuana, also known as adult-use marijuana, is intended for individuals aged 21 and older for recreational enjoyment rather than medicinal purposes. According to Merriam-Webster, recreational drugs are often consumed "without medical justification" for their effects.

As outlined by GoodRx, medical and recreational cannabis are the two classifications legalized by certain U.S. states. Typically, there is no discernible quality difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis. However, it is acknowledged that cannabis designated for medical use undergoes a more rigorous and controlled processing regimen.

In brief, the primary distinction lies in their sale process. Medical marijuana in Florida necessitates a medical marijuana card for purchase. In contrast, recreational marijuana in qualifying states allows purchases by individuals over the age of 21 without specific medical requirements.

What are Florida's current marijuana laws?

Florida Marijuana Laws: Possession and Associated Offenses

While medical marijuana is permitted in Florida, stringent laws still govern the possession, sale, and transportation of marijuana, marijuana products, and related accessories.

Florida Marijuana Possession Laws:

Possession charges carry varying penalties. Possessing 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, potentially resulting in one year of jail time and a maximum $1,000 fine. Possessing more than 20 grams becomes a felony, carrying a possible sentence of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Penalties can escalate to 30 years of incarceration and fines reaching $200,000.

Possession within 1,000 feet of specified areas like schools or parks is a felony, mandating a three-year jail sentence and fines up to $10,000.

Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, with potential penalties of up to a year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

Florida Marijuana Sale Laws

The sale of 20 grams or less of marijuana without compensation is a misdemeanor, carrying potential penalties of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Selling more than 20 grams becomes a felony, with potential jail time of up to 30 years and fines up to $200,000. Penalties vary based on the quantity sold and whether the sale occurred within 1,000 feet of specified areas like schools, parks, or colleges.

DUI After Marijuana Use

All states criminalize driving under the influence of controlled substances, and regulations on impaired driving vary by jurisdiction.

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