Unfortunately, recreational cannabis use remains illegal in the state of Florida. Possession of up to 20 grams is considered a misdemeanour offence, punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1000, as well as the suspension of one’s driver’s license.
In this article, we explore the relevant cannabis laws in Florida relevant to possession, consumption and cultivation.
However, several cities including San Diego and Miami have introduced new reforms to apply lesser penalties as the state begins to loosen cannabis laws.
But is it legal to grow cannabis in Florida?
While cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in Florida, the Sunshine State became the first southern U.S state to legalise the plant in any form when they first introduced medical cannabis back in 2016.
As mentioned, medical use was first legalized in 2016 thanks to a constitutional amendment making Florida the first southern state to adopt proactive measures relating to cannabis law.The initiative was overwhelmingly approved with 71% of the total votes cast and with its introduction, medical marijuana can now be cultivated and dispensed to qualifying patients.
Under the legislation, those with debilitating medical ailments as determined by a licensed state physician may qualify to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some of the conditions that qualify for medical cannabis use in Florida include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, amongst others
Conviction of a drug related offense also requires suspension of the offender’s driver’s license for at least six months but not longer than two years.
Under the new law, possession of 25 or more plants (formerly 300 plants) is prima facie evidence of intent to sell or distribute, and is a second degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Any sale or delivery occurring within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public park, public housing, daycare center, or church is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Mandatory minimum sentence: When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.
The delivery of 20 grams or less of marijuana for no consideration is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Sale, delivery or cultivation of any other amount up to 25 pounds is a felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Sale, delivery or cultivation of greater than 25 pounds is considered trafficking, and all trafficking offenses have mandatory minimum sentences. For less than 2,000 pounds or less than 2,000 plants, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a fine of $25,000. For less than 10,000 pounds or less than 10,000 plants there is a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years and a fine of $50,000. For 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants or greater, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison and a fine of $200,000.
The possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.