Criminal charges in connection with controlled substances begin with simple possession and increase in severity with charges like trafficking, possession with intent to sell, and importing. This does not mean that simple possession of marijuana is an insignificant crime in the eyes of Florida law. This blog will cover important details of possession of marijuana, including possible jail and prison sentences.
Recreational Marijuana is Still Illegal in Florida
Though Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016—three election cycles ago—cannabis is still a Schedule I drug. That puts it in the same tier as heroin and other drugs which have high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. There are five schedules of drugs in Florida, and substances reserved for Schedule I are considered to be the most dangerous.
Marijuana Possession in Florida
Though marijuana is a Schedule I drug in Florida, the penalties for possession are not as severe as those for possession of other Schedule I drugs. Possession of 20 grams or fewer of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor in the first degree, which carries a maximum jail sentence of one year. The potential jail sentence is coupled with a fine that could go as high as $1,000. Conversely, possession of more than 10 grams of most other Schedule I drugs carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years and fine of up to $10,000.
When it comes to marijuana, 20 (grams) is the magic number. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana in Florida is classified as a third-degree felony. This carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and maximum fine of $5,000. Possession of any amount of most other Schedule I drugs is also a third-degree felony.
For possession of certain amounts of marijuana, judges are forced to abide by mandatory minimums if you are convicted. Possession of more than 25 pounds of marijuana carries a mandatory prison sentence of at least three years and up to 15 years. The mandatory minimums go up for possession of 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, respectively.
What Exactly is Simple Possession of Marijuana?
There are two types of possession in Florida: actual and constructive. You would have actual possession of marijuana (or other drugs) if it is in your immediate physical custody, such as having the substance in your pants or jacket pocket.
Constructive possession means that you know of the substance’s whereabouts and have the ability to control the location of the substance. For instance, you would likely have constructive possession of marijuana that an officer finds in the floorboard of your car. Whether you have actual or constructive possession does not matter in the context of penalties for the crime, but it could have quite an impact on your lawyer’s defense strategy.
The Camadeco Law Group, PLLC knows how much your life can change based on a mere charge of drug possession, let alone a conviction. We will do whatever is humanly possible to make sure a conviction doesn’t happen. We will aggressively protect your rights and employ creative strategies and tactics to defend you against possession charges. Call us at (239) 444-5529 to speak with somebody about your case.