Sarasota Attorneys Defending People Charged with Marijuana-Related Offenses

Until relatively recently, it was illegal to grow, use, or possess marijuana in all 50 states. Over the last few decades, though, states across the country have legalized marijuana. While in some states, it is legal to use marijuana for any purpose, in others, people can only use it medicinally, and it can be challenging to keep up with the ongoing changes in the law. As such, it is common for people to wonder, “is it legal to use marijuana in Florida?” Currently, Florida has strict laws regarding how one can use marijuana and how and where they can use it, and if they violate the laws, they may face criminal charges. If you were recently charged with illegally using, distributing, or possessing marijuana, the dedicated Sarasota marijuana charge defense attorneys of Hanlon Law can apprise you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. We frequently represent parties charged with drug crimes and other offenses in Sarasota and other cities throughout Florida. 

Is it Legal to Use Marijuana in Florida?

It is not legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes in Florida. In 2017, the Florida constitution was amended to permit people suffering from certain medical conditions to use marijuana medicinally. Prior to that time, marijuana could only be used in Florida by people who had less than a year to live or were terminally ill. 

Under the 2017 amendment, anyone who has AIDS, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, chronic nonmalignant pain, Crohn’s disease, a terminal condition, or any other medical condition of the same kind or class, as determined by a qualified physician, is eligible to be placed on the medical marijuana use registry and receive marijuana. Notably, only people who took the measures necessary to be placed on the medical marijuana use registry can lawfully use marijuana for medical purposes in Florida. As such, even if a person has been diagnosed with an enumerated condition, it is still unlawful for them to possess or use marijuana unless they have been added to the medical marijuana use registry. 

There are limitations that people approved for the medicinal use of marijuana must abide by as well. For example, they cannot obtain marijuana from anyone other than a medical marijuana treatment center and cannot share or disburse the marijuana they receive. The law also prohibits them from using marijuana in certain areas, like state correctional facilities, school grounds, and on school vehicles.  

Potential Penalties for Illegal Marijuana Use in Florida

The penalties for convictions for the illegal use of marijuana in violation of Florida law vary depending on the nature and severity of the alleged offense. The possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor that carries penalties of up to a year in prison and fines of up to $1,000. Possessing between 20 grams and 15 pounds of marijuana is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. The fines and potential terms of imprisonment imposed for convictions of marijuana offenses increase in correspondence with the weight of marijuana in a person’s possession, with a person charged with possessing 10,000 pounds or more facing fifteen to thirty years in prison and fines of up to $200,000. Similarly, the penalties imposed on people convicted of selling or delivering marijuana vary depending on the amount of marijuana involved. 

Meet with an Experienced Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney 

With marijuana laws constantly changing, it is common for people to question, “is it legal to use marijuana in Florida?” and it is important for anyone charged with the unlawful use of marijuana in Florida to speak to an attorney about their rights. The experienced Sarasota marijuana charge defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are proficient at helping criminal defendants protect their rights, and if you are accused of using marijuana illegally, we can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek a favorable result. We have an office in Sarasota and additional offices in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Bradenton. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at 941.462.1789 to set up a confidential and free consultation. 

Attorney Will Hanlon
Attorney Will Hanlon
As a native Floridian and criminal defense attorney, my family history in Tampa spans generations. Since being admitted to The Florida Bar almost 20 years ago, I founded Hanlon Law and have gained extensive legal experience in criminal courtrooms in and around Tampa and throughout Florida.


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