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Marijuana, also known as cannabis, pot, bud, ganja, and weed, is one of the most widely used illicit substances throughout Florida. Unfortunately, since Florida classifies the substance as a Schedule I drug, or one of the most dangerous drugs, many criminal offenses can arise from possessing marijuana. Some of the most common Florida marijuana offenses can include, but are not limited to:
Anyone who is convicted of a marijuana offense can face severe penalties, including jail or prison terms, fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation and/or a criminal record.
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Gainesville, or any of the surrounding areas of Florida, including Ocala, Alachua, and Lake City, contact the Galigani Law Firm. Dean Galigani, a Gainesville criminal defense attorney, is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and is evaluated for professionalism, tested for expertise in all areas of Florida criminal law, including Florida marijuana laws. Galigani Law Firm is also experienced in representing students in Florida college disciplinary hearings for marijuana offenses. Call our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (352) 375-0812 about your alleged marijuana charge.
All marijuana offenses in Florida are governed by the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which is in chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes. Fla. Stat. § 893.13 lists prohibited marijuana offenses and the consequences for committing such acts. A few of the most common marijuana crimes are listed below.
Simple Marijuana Possession occurs when an individual possesses less than 20 grams of marijuana, either through actual or constructive possession. A conviction for this offense can result in a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Felony Possession can occur when an individual possesses 20 grams or more of marijuana, either through actual or constructive possession. A conviction for this offense can result in a felony of the third degree.
Cultivation or Manufacture of Marijuana can occur if an individual, either synthetically or naturally cultivates, produces, grows or makes marijuana. This offense can result in a felony of the third degree.
Trafficking in Cannabis can occur if an individual sells or distributes marijuana into or out of Florida. If an individual trafficks less than 25 pounds, they can be convicted of a felony of the third degree. If an individual trafficks between 25 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana or between 300 and 2,000 marijuana plants, they can be convicted of a felony of the second degree. If an individual trafficks over 2,000 pounds of marijuana, they can be convicted of a felony of the first degree.
If an individual is charged with a marijuana offense, they can face a variety of penalties and punishments if convicted. The penalties listed below are the statutory minimum sentences, but can often increase depending on the type of offense, the number of previous convictions an alleged offender has, and where the offense took place. For example, marijuana trafficking offenses can result in a mandatory minimum sentence and much greater fines.
In addition to jail or prison sentences and fines, convicted marijuana offenders can face collateral consequences, such as:
Certain drug offenders are permitted to attend a drug court program in Florida in order to avoid jail or prison sentences. Alleged offenders who are eligible are non-violent third-degree felony drug offenders, including marijuana offenders.
Participants in the Alachua Drug Court program are required to receive substance abuse evaluation and treatment, random urinalysis, fees or community service, and weekly judicial monitoring for a minimum of 12 months. Once an alleged offender has successfully completed the program, their charges will be dismissed.
In addition to being a non-violent drug offender, the individual’s participation depends on approval by the Florida Attorney General’s office, any prior criminal history, and any prior violent crime convictions.
Your Gainesville marijuana attorney may be able to use certain defenses in your particular situation that can reduce your charges or even result in a dismissal. The following defenses are not appropriate for every situation, so it is important to first speak with your attorney to determine the best plan for your unique defense.
Although there are documented medicinal benefits to marijuana and provide relief for many individuals suffering from certain illnesses and ailments, medicinal marijuana is not legally permitted in Florida, nor under federal law.
A federal bill has recently been proposed, HR 2306, which would end the federal government’s regulation of marijuana, and give each state the option to legalize medicinal marijuana, decriminalize marijuana use, or prohibit marijuana.
Medicinal marijuana is commonly used to treat pain resulting from nerve damage or severe arthritis, as an appetite stimulant in certain cancer or AIDS patients, as a treatment for movement disorders and glaucoma, and as a way to treat nausea from typical cancer treatments. Some research also shows that marijuana can possibly defend the body against certain types of malignant tumors.
Sixteen states in the United States and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana, in addition to other countries around the world. Many health organizations, doctors, and scientists agree there is at least some medicinal benefit of marijuana and believe a patient should be able to legally access marijuana for treatment under a doctor’s supervision.
United for Care: People United for Medical Marijuana - This Florida-based non-profit group is working to legalize medical marijuana. Their supporters fight tirelessly to promote a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis use for medical purposes.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) – Florida’s NORML website provides access to the state’s marijuana laws and penalties, data about marijuana in Florida, recent news about marijuana in the state, and resources for more information about marijuana in Florida. A local NORML branch is located at:The University of Florida NORML
Alachua County Drug Court – This website contains relevant information for individuals who have been charged with a marijuana offense in Alachua County and desire to seek participation in the county’s drug court. The program can be contacted at:Alachua County Drug Court Supervisor
Office of National Drug Control Policy – This governmental drug agency’s website provides information about all things marijuana, including frequently asked questions about marijuana use, facts about marijuana, street names for marijuana, and miscellaneous resources about marijuana.
Drug Enforcement Administration – The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is a national government agency that enforces the United States’ drug violations, including marijuana.
Federal Drug Penalties – The DEA’s website contains the specific federal penalties for various federal marijuana offenses, including prison sentences and fines.
Contact the Galigani Law Firm today for a consultation about your marijuana offense throughout Alachua County in Florida. Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Gainesville who will make every effort to help you find the best possible outcome in your particular situation. Call (352) 375-0812 or send an online message for a consultation about your alleged marijuana crime throughout the counties in Florida, including Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County.
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