Despite many States legalizing marijuana or cannabis, Florida still lags behind. Twenty States including the District of Columbia have given the green light for the herb to be used. In fact, a third of the population lives in regions where the jurisdiction is not so stringent. Despite the growing public outcry for the cannabis plant to be legalized even if for medical purposes only, the State of Florida seems not ready to change their stand.
Forms of Punishment
Possessing or selling cannabis in Florida attracts different penalties depending on amount. Penalties on smaller quantities are lighter as compared to larger quantities. Punishment includes fines, imprisonment, incarcerations, and treatment for addiction. Similar to adults, children may also be placed in a juvenile facility. Synthetic form of marijuana such as tetrahydrocannabinols usually comes with more severe punishment.
What Constitutes A Crime?
To be charged with a crime, possession or intent to sale has to be proven. You do not necessarily have to be nabbed in the act. Simply possessing the paraphernalia such as baggies, measuring equipment, and large quantities will land you into problems. In addition, possessing at least 25 plants is also indicative of intent to sell. You may be charged based on either the Federal or State Law. These two forms of Law come with different penalties and interpretations.
Penalties for Possessing Marijuana
• Possessing less than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor. It attracts a maximum jail term of 1 year and not more than $ 1000. The option of drug diversion program may be offered to first time offenders without a criminal record.
• Possessing more than 20 grams of dry cannabis plant is a felony. The punishment is a maximum of 5 years and a fine not exceeding $ 5,000.
• Possessing more than 25 grams attracts a fine not exceeding $ 10,000 and a maximum imprisonment of 15 years.
• When caught with 25 cannabis plants, the jail term will not exceed 5 years and a maximum fine of $ 5,000.
Cannabis Distribution Laws
• Delivery of less than 25 grams of dry cannabis without pay is a misdemeanor. Maximum imprisonment doesn’t exceed 1 year while the maximum fine is $ 1,000.
• Sale of less than 25 grams of the dried plant is a felony. It comes with a maximum imprisonment of 5 years plus a fine not exceeding $ 5,000.
• Sale of at 25 to 2000 lbs (300-2000 plants) is a felony. The maximum jail term is 15 years while the minimum is 3 years. A maximum fine of $ 25,000 is also applicable.
• Sale of between 2,000 and 10,000 lbs (2,000 and 10,000 plants) attracts a maximum fine of $ 50,000.The minimum jail term is 15 yrs while 30 years is the maximum.
• Selling more than 10,000 pounds of dried cannabis has a minimum imprisonment of 15 years while the maximum is 30 years. A fine not exceeding $ 200,000 is also charged.
• Delivering or selling the plant within 1,000 feet of a park, school, college, or any other specified region is a felony. The maximum sentence is 15 years while $10,000 is the maximum fine.
In a recent poll, 3000 registered voters in Florida were asked whether they supported the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes. 73.5% supported the cause. A further 58.8% suggested that it should be regulated and taxed just like alcohol.