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Alternative Forms Of Marijuana Are Still Illegal In Florida
As of this writing, it is legal in 19 states (plus Washington D.C.) to smoke marijuana recreationally, and in 38 states to use marijuana for a medical purpose. Florida has only recently made medical marijuana legal, while still prohibiting its recreational usage. This goes not only for possession of the cannabis plant, but also for cannabis in other forms. Some of the most common ways marijuana is consumed are by vaping or ‘dabbing’ (ingesting a concentrate of the plant) – but what many do not know is that the penalties for possessing concentrates are harsher than those for being caught with cannabis plants.
Concentrations Are Stronger
Normally, Florida’s drug sentences are among the harshest in the nation, because of the state’s past history with drug cartels and unscrupulous doctors. Possession of cannabis under a certain amount is one of the few drug crimes in Florida that can be pled as a misdemeanor. However, this only refers to possession of cannabis specifically – not any “resin” or “compound manufacture.” The rationale is that extracts from the cannabis plant have the potential to be significantly stronger and more effective, which may pose more of a danger to society than the so-called “mild” high of regular cannabis.
Because of this, possession of any amount of cannabis concentrates is considered a third-degree felony in Florida, carrying up to 5 years in jail, 5 years on probation, and at least $5,000 in fines and costs. Your driver’s license will also be suspended upon conviction for up to 6 months. This offense will also remain on your record – in general, drug-related offenses cannot be expunged or sealed away, so future landlords or employers will be able to see the conviction.
Defenses To Possession Do Exist
Because any form of concentrate, from dabs to edibles, is excluded from Florida’s cannabis possession statute, it can come as a very unpleasant surprise to suddenly face felony drug possession charges. However, there are several possible defenses that you may be able to assert in response to the prosecution’s case, many of which can undermine it enough to result in acquittal. Some include:
- Establishing that the substance you were stopped with was CBD (cannabidiol), which is generally not considered a controlled substance because it only has trace amounts of the chemical that gets a person ‘high;’
- Arguing that another person had constructive possession of the drugs in question – constructive possession means one must have had knowledge of, and ‘dominion and control’ over, the drugs;
- Showing that you possessed a prescription for the concentrate;
- Arguing that law enforcement made an illegal search of your home or person, which would render all the evidence they discovered inadmissible in court; and
- Any other tactic which undermines the prosecution’s ability to demonstrate knowledge, dominion and control of the concentrates.
Contact A West Palm Beach Marijuana Possession Attorney
While attitudes across the United States are slowly adjusting, Florida’s law still makes all forms of marijuana illegal without possession of a medical card. Concentrates are seen as particularly dangerous, and the potential penalties for possessing them are harsh. If you have been charged with possession of cannabis concentrates like oils or edibles, a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. may be able to help you determine your best legal path. We are happy to try and assist you – call our office today to speak to an attorney.