Medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. However, many people who do not qualify for medical reasons still resort to using the substance recreationally. Little do they realize that marijuana possession is still a criminal offense. Individuals who are caught with small amounts of cannabis risk cutting their bright and promising futures short.
Here is what all citizens should know about the state's marijuana possession law.
The legal penalties for possession
The severity of punishment for marijuana drug possession is dependent on the amount, type and other factors. If offenders possess less than 20 grams, they may receive a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Anything over that amount can result in a third-degree felony charge. Those who the police arrest for possessing a cannabis derivative, such as oil, cream, shatter or budder, may receive additional drug charges.
The penalties for having less than 20 grams of cannabis include:
- Up to one year of probation or jail
- $1,000 in fines
- Suspension of driver's license for up to one year
- Criminal record
The penalties for felony possession of marijuana include up to five years or more of prison time and $5,000 or more in fines. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an arrest, there may be other sentencing requirements.
Other factors to consider
The consequences of a marijuana possession charge can have a lingering effect on one's life. There could be a loss of employment and education opportunities. Offenders are no longer eligible for federal and private financial aid for school. Many employers will not hire and may terminate people who have drug convictions and criminal records. Offenders may also have trouble forming and maintaining relationships with others because of the stigmas associated with drug crimes.