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Beating Your Medical Marijuana Charges

You may be saying to yourself, “Finally, marijuana is legal in Florida!” However, do not get ahead of yourself. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but there are many restrictions. If you have violated one of these restrictions, then you need to be ready to defend yourself against the resulting charges.

At the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I am dedicated to protecting the Clearwater community against criminal charges. I am lawyer Jenna Finkelstein. I am fluent in the laws surrounding your case and am ready to fight for optimal results for you.

Providing You With The Answers You Need

Marijuana is only legal in the following forms: oil, edible, topical or vapor. As the law stands, you may not smoke medical marijuana (read ahead for more on this). The law is complicated and new. As a Florida criminal defense lawyer in Florida, I will take the time to highlight some of the details regarding the possession of marijuana in the Sunshine State, including in the Tampa Bay area, and answer some of the more common questions I hear, below.

Is marijuana legal in Florida?

A qualified physician may prescribe medical marijuana for certain medical conditions in Florida. Those conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, MS and other similar conditions.

A qualified physician must be certified to order tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis, medical marijuana and devices used to administer marijuana.

The law is complicated and still evolving in Florida. In 2014, The Florida Legislature passed a law that was intended to offer medical grade marijuana, which is lower in THC and higher in cannabidiol. The purpose was to target distribution for medical purposes only. Epilepsy and other similar disorders were being treated with this medical marijuana. In 2016, the program was relaxed a bit, and terminally ill patients were allowed to acquire medical marijuana, even that which contained higher levels of THC. With the passing of Amendment 2 in Florida, full-strength medical marijuana became legal, and more conditions are allowed to be treated with it.

Can I smoke medical marijuana?

No, but maybe? The current law says no, but courts have recently disagreed. In 2017, The Florida Legislature decided on a list of ways that medically prescribed marijuana could be ingested. The list is as follows:

  • Edibles: Food medically infused with marijuana
  • Vaporized weed: Marijuana that is inhaled through a device that heats the marijuana at a lower temperature than the temperature that heats weed that you smoke. Although there are many debates regarding vaping over smoking, the bottom line is that vaping is currently legal, and you should defer to your qualified doctor for recommendations on the form that is best for you and your condition.
  • Sprays: Marijuana-infused sprays are typically sprayed in the mouth and are said to have the same or similar effects of other forms of medical marijuana. It is offered as an alternative to smoking or inhaling for those who aren’t comfortable with those methods.
  • Oils

What is not on the list? Smoking marijuana. However, a judge in Orlando ruled that prohibiting a patient from smoking medical marijuana in private places is unconstitutional. What does this mean for the individual who wants to smoke their medical marijuana? It is still “against the law,” but there is now a precedent that may lead to a change in the law.

What is the difference between THC and CBD?

THC is the part of the plant that is known to produce the high associated with recreational marijuana use. CBD lacks the psychoactive effect that THC is known to produce. You need a valid prescription for both CBD and THC to legally possess them in the state of Florida.

Are edibles legal in Florida?

Edibles are just that – food containing marijuana or food infused with marijuana. Eating marijuana is becoming a popular way to consume the drug. Grouped under edibles are liquid edibles or drinkables. Drinkables are liquids infused with cannabis. Most edibles and drinkables contain a significant amount of THC. As stated above, edibles have been added to the list of legal ways to ingest medical marijuana.

Companies are trying to form partnerships to bring edibles to Florida, and the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use Enforcement is considering it. There are no guarantees that medical marijuana products, such as chocolate bars made by Bhang, will be offered in Florida anytime soon, but it is possible. In fact, Trulieve, a medical marijuana provider, just partnered with Bhang and hopes to have edibles in dispensaries near you soon.

How do I get a legal marijuana prescription?

To get a prescription for marijuana in Florida, you must be added to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician. If you have a diagnosis that justifies a prescription, then you will be issued a medical marijuana ID card. It is important to keep this card on you at all times. If you are found in possession of marijuana and do not have your prescription and/or ID card, then you can be arrested and will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the complicated legal system.

How much is a medical marijuana card?

Prices may vary, but typically, you are going to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for your medical marijuana card, depending on whether you are a new patient or an existing patient who needs recertification. The price of marijuana will vary depending on the type, method of ingestion and delivery.

Is Marijuana legal under federal law?

Currently, medical marijuana is illegal under federal law. Marijuana, even medical marijuana, is still treated as a controlled substance under federal law and is regulated like other substances, such as heroin and cocaine. Raising medical defenses under federal prosecutions is still recommended. However, it appears from a criminal defense perspective that the government is not making federal prosecutions pertaining to medical marijuana a priority at this time.

Can I grow my own marijuana?

A Florida judge issued an order allowing one man in Florida to “possess, grow and use marijuana” for juicing purposes only. However, the case is still in litigation and the Department of Health is appealing the ruling. This ruling does not suggest that anyone may grow their own marijuana. In fact, that is illegal. However, the fact that courts are open to hearing individual arguments and are considering the possibility on a case-by-case basis may be a telling sign for the future of marijuana growth, use and production in the future.

Is Florida going to legalize recreational marijuana?

No one knows, but the fact that the medical marijuana laws are in place and evolving suggests a trend in that direction.

Is possession of marijuana oil without a valid prescription a felony or a misdemeanor?

Possession of marijuana oil is a felony in Florida, regardless of the amount you possess. In other words, if you are arrested for 1 gram of marijuana oil and 1 gram of marijuana plant, you face one felony and one misdemeanor. A valid prescription for THC will not be a defense to the possession of the plant substance.

You may have a defense if you have a valid prescription and have been arrested. However, due to the complicated laws that govern the medical marijuana platform, it is always best to have an attorney who is familiar with the laws and practices in your jurisdiction. I am a trial lawyer who practices throughout the state of Florida with a concentration in the Tampa Bay area.

Rely On Me Throughout Your Defense

If you are ready to build a personalized strategy against your criminal charges, contact me by calling 727-202-4418 or emailing my firm here. Schedule your free initial consultation today and take the first step toward resolving your case.