Unlike many other states that have legalized recreational cannabis, Florida has harsh laws and penalties surrounding its possession and still considers it an illicit substance. After being arrested or charged with any marijuana violation, a Jacksonville marijuana possession lawyer can help protect you against the prosecution.
If you are facing possession of marijuana charges in Jacksonville, FL, whether you are an authorized user on the medical registry in possession of more than your legal limit or you are in possession of marijuana and not on the authorized registry, you should consult with a marijuana arrest attorney regarding your case.
Gates Law Firm has extensive experience in criminal law with years of proven successful cases. Our possession attorney has a compassionate approach in the courtroom that is unmatched in Jacksonville, and we can apply the same level of care to your criminal defense case.
Marijuana is legal for use in the state of Florida for medical purposes when authorized. This is called Medical Marijuana Use Authorization. If you are on the registry for the authorized use of marijuana, are the caregiver of someone who’s authorized to use marijuana, or own a treatment center where consumers can purchase consumable and regulated marijuana products, you have the legal right to possess marijuana.
Anyone else in the state of Florida, including Jacksonville, under state laws, is not allowed to possess marijuana, and consequently, anyone who is caught by law enforcement officers in possession of marijuana will face legal repercussions. Even those Florida residents who are on the Medical Marijuana Use Authorization registry are subject to strict laws that limit the amount of marijuana they are allowed to possess.
Below, you will find insight into marijuana possession charges for both individuals who have authorized permission to use marijuana and those who don’t.
Charges for possession of marijuana in Jacksonville range from a first-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The lowest of these charges is for possession of 20 grams or less and is a misdemeanor charge warranting a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. This is the only misdemeanor charge for possession.
If you are caught with more than 20 grams of marijuana, it is an automatic felony and punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. This is the same sentence that is attached to possession of hashish or concentrates.
The next level of possession is for between 25 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in jail but can carry up to 15 years with a fine of $25,000. After that, having between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds of marijuana carries a minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum of 30 years imprisonment with a $200,000 fine.
The highest felony possession charge that you can get in Jacksonville is for possessing more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana. With this charge, you’ll do a minimum of 15 years of imprisonment (maximum 30 years) and a fine of $200,000.
Florida law defines possession of actual cannabis plants and consumable marijuana separately; however, there is no misdemeanor for possessing a plant. If police officers catch you with fewer than 25 plants, it is an automatic felony with a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If you have between 25 and 300 plants, that sentence triples to a 15-year prison sentence, and the fine goes up to $10,000.
If you are caught with more than 300 marijuana plants but less than 2,000, it’s a mandatory three-year sentence with a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. For possession of 2,000 to 10,000 plants, the sentence carries a mandatory seven years in prison up to a 30-year maximum imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. A charge for possession of 10,000 plants or more requires a 15-year prison sentence with a maximum of 30 years and a $50,000 fine.
There is a catch that can aggravate your charges. If you are caught with any amount of consumable marijuana product or plants within 1,000 feet of a school, including colleges, parks, or other specific areas, it’s an automatic felony and a mandatory three years in jail (15-year max) with a fine of $10,000.
Furthermore, you can catch additional charges for drug crimes such as selling, delivering, or manufacturing cannabis products to the tune of five additional years in prison and an additional $5,000 fine.
Additionally, if you are caught manufacturing, selling, or delivering cannabis products within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare, it’s another 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Possession of drug paraphernalia warrants a misdemeanor and a sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
When someone commits a crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence (MMS), there is nothing else a judge can do to lower that sentence. Even nonviolent criminals who break the law with a mandatory minimum sentence must serve out that term and will likely not be eligible for parole.
This is not to say you can’t still get off when charged with drug possession with the help of an experienced Jacksonville drug possession lawyer to meticulously inspect the details of your case and look for a loophole to defend your rights. A good attorney can potentially fight for lessened charges, assist you in making a plea deal that does not include jail time, and/or prove your innocence.
Even if you’ve been authorized to use marijuana for medicinal purposes in Florida and are on the active registry of authorized users, you still cannot possess more than the maximum limit set by law.
The only way to get on this list is by a doctor’s recommendation. Even if you have proof that you suffer from one of the approved illnesses that constitutes the use of marijuana to alleviate symptoms, you must get a doctor’s permission to use marijuana in order to get your name on the registry for authorized use.
Those legally allowed to consume marijuana products in Florida may only carry 24.5 G or less of marijuana on their person. This is also considered a 35-day supply. An exception to this is that a caregiver of someone who has been authorized to use marijuana products can carry the medicinal marijuana for their patient, but they must be very vigilant to have the proper paperwork available should law enforcement ask for it.
Furthermore, these products consumed by authorized users must be obtained from a registered dispensary in Florida that is legally allowed to dispense marijuana.
A: The penalty for first-time possession of marijuana charges in Florida depends on how much marijuana product you are charged with. For possession of 20 grams or less, charges will be a misdemeanor with one year in prison and a fine of $1,000.
Possession of more than 20 grams constitutes more severe charges, especially if you are also caught selling or distributing marijuana. The charges get even more severe if you’re caught in a school, park, or other specific location. First-time offenders are likely to get the minimum sentence possible, while repeat offenders will likely get the maximum sentence for their charge.
A: If drug charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence, a first-time drug offender can be sent to jail. Most drug charges do not have a mandatory minimum sentence; however, getting possession charges near a school, park, or college, for instance, does carry a minimum three-year sentence, even for first-time offenders. Any possession charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, carries the possibility of imprisonment.
A: Yes, Florida prosecutes marijuana possession. The state has had discord over whether or not to legalize medical marijuana, and politicians have had a difficult time getting it to pass. Medical marijuana did pass, but there are still strict laws regarding marijuana for those who do not have authorization to use it for medicinal purposes. The legalization of medical marijuana in Florida did not slacken the laws for other users of marijuana in Florida.
Any type of drug charge is a serious one, even marijuana, especially in Florida. Jacksonville has not adopted any laws to decriminalize marijuana possession or consumption. Anyone caught in Jacksonville breaking state laws of marijuana possession is subject to state penalties and punishments for their crimes. Remember, any amount of marijuana is against the law in Florida unless you are an authorized user, and in that case, you may only still have so much.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with marijuana possession in Jacksonville, the sooner you speak with a Jacksonville marijuana possession lawyer, the more likely you are to improve your case odds. If your lawyer has more time to figure out a potentially successful approach for a marijuana defense strategy in your case, the likelihood that your defense lawyer can optimize the outcome of your case improves.
While lawyers have specific tactics and repeated practices they use to argue cases and fight for their clients, each case is uniquely different and needs its own time to be handled properly. Contact Gates Law Firm for criminal defense to learn more about the ideal approach for your case. We are confident our lawyer can provide you with the legal services and support you need to get through your marijuana charges case.
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