Like many other states across the nation, Florida has recently begun to rethink the laws surrounding the criminalization of marijuana, at least for its medicinal uses. There are two ways for medical marijuana to become legal in Florida. First, a state lawmaker may submit a bill to either house, which would need to eventually be approved by both houses of congress and the governor to become law. However, Florida lawmakers have generally positioned themselves against a statutory change to the state’s criminal laws to allow for the legalization of medicinal marijuana.
Second, Floridians can, without lawmakers’ approval, propose and pass a constitutional amendment to legalize medicinal marijuana. The process is arduous. However, Floridians have begun to organize around the idea of a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana. There is currently a petition circulating to place the medical-marijuana issue on the ballot next voting cycle. If 700,000 voters sign the petition, and several other criteria are met, the issue may be put in front in front of the entire state to determine if Floridians are for the decriminalization of medical marijuana.
Recently, however, the law has met a few critics. Just last week, a Reuters report noted that the Florida Attorney General has come out against the proposed amendment, arguing that it is a way for anyone who can convince a doctor they could benefit from marijuana to legally get the drug. He claims that the new “Florida law would allow marijuana in limitless situations.”
Marijuana Arrests Can Cripple a Future
Despite the nationwide trend to decriminalize marijuana use, simple possession of marijuana remains a serious offense in Florida that can result in fines, jail time, or both. For example, a first-time offender caught purchasing marijuana for personal use can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The punishment for a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida can result in:
- A fine of up to $1,000; and
- A term of imprisonment of up to one year.
Keep in mind, this is for a first-time offender. If a defendant has been convicted of an offense in the past, the punishment will likely be more severe and will possibly be a felony offense. Felony offenses come with extremely detrimental collateral consequences, such as restrictions on employment opportunities and voting rights.
Have You Been Accused of a Marijuana Offense?
If you have recently been accused of a drug offense in the Jacksonville area, you need to ensure that you are represented by an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. Whether the alleged crime is for simple possession, possession with intent to distribute, or manufacture of a controlled substance, having an experienced Florida defense lawyer at your side can help you beat the charges or, if the evidence is especially strong, at least arrive at a fair sentence.
The Forbess Law Firm has the experience you need to fight drug charges of all types. Click here to contact us online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced drug defense attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
Couple Arrested For Killing Baby With Heroin Filled Baby Bottle, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 15, 2013.
Sunrise Police Officer Resigns After Being Charged With Marijuana Distribution, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 7, 2013.