Florida Marijuana Laws – What You Need to Know

Marijuana laws in Florida are changing rapidly. All citizens need to know the current marijuana laws in the state and what to do if you are in a car accident in Tampa involving marijuana. Here’s what you need to know about marijuana laws in the State of Florida.

Florida Marijuana Laws

Florida marijuana laws allow medical marijuana use but not recreational use. Medical marijuana users need physician approval to consume marijuana in the state lawfully. Medical marijuana users can smoke or consume it in another way. While recreational marijuana use remains illegal in the State of Florida as of 2019, many cities charge recreational use as a civil offense rather than as a crime.

Florida History of Marijuana Laws

After rejecting medical marijuana use in 2014, voters approved it in 2016. When medical marijuana was first approved, only oils and edibles were legal. Smoking marijuana wasn’t legal.

However, in 2019, lawmakers approved smoking medical marijuana along with other ways to consume it for health purposes. In addition, many cities have measures that allow law enforcement to charge unlawful possession as a civil infraction rather than as a criminal offense.

Is Recreational Marijuana Use Legal in Florida?

No, recreational marijuana is not legal in Florida. Only medical marijuana is legal in Florida. There are many qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana. However, people who use it for a recreational purpose without having a medical marijuana card in Florida may face criminal charges.Florida Marijuana Laws

What Is Florida’s Medical Marijuana Law?

Florida’s medical marijuana law is Florida Revised Statutes 381.986. The law gives a list of medical conditions that may qualify a patient to use medical marijuana. A physician must approve the patient for use. The law creates regulations for a user registry, caregiver possession, and treatment centers for purchasing consumable marijuana.

Are Edibles Legal in Florida?

Yes, edibles are legal in Florida. A person that is approved to use medical marijuana lawfully may consume edibles. They may use oils, sprays, and pills. In fact, in Florida, it has been legal to use edibles for medical purposes since 2016. It has only been legal to smoke medical marijuana since 2019.

Is Marijuana Legal in Tampa?

Medical marijuana is legal in Tampa, but recreational marijuana is not legal in Tampa. Even though violators may face criminal charges under state law, the City of Tampa has created a system that allows law enforcement to issue civil infractions for marijuana offenders. The city council voted 5-1 to implement the civil system for unlawful possession of marijuana up to 20 grams. Offenders face a $75 fine for a first offense and escalating fines for additional violations.

List of Debilitating Medical Conditions for Florida Medical Marijuana

Here is the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana use in Florida:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV
  • PTSD
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Other similar medical conditions
  • Other terminal medical conditions
  • Chronic pain

Chronic pain is the most common medical condition used to qualify for a medical marijuana card. A person who falsely represents their symptoms to be eligible for medical marijuana faces a misdemeanor charge.

Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card Under 18 in Florida?

Yes, you can get a medical marijuana card under 18 in Florida. However, the minor must meet qualifications based on severe medical illness. Any minor seeking a medical marijuana card in Florida must have approval from two physicians who are qualified to evaluate a patient and approve them for marijuana use. The minor’s parents must consent to the child having a medical marijuana card.

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Florida?

The penalties for marijuana possession in Florida depend on the amount of marijuana that you have in your possession. Possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail — the more marijuana found in your possession, the greater the penalty. The top penalty for marijuana possession in the State of Florida is up to 30 years in prison. Some cities in Florida choose to issue civil infractions rather than misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession.

Defenses to Marijuana Charges in Florida

Here are some possible defenses to marijuana charges in Florida:

  • The marijuana wasn’t in your possession
  • The police can’t prove that it was marijuana
  • You have the right to lawfully possess marijuana as a medical patient
  • You have the right to legally possess marijuana as a caregiver
  • The police unlawfully searched your home, vehicle or personal items

It’s up to you to take the steps that you need to take to get a medical marijuana card before you face criminal charges. However, if you’re caught with marijuana and you would qualify for a medical marijuana card, the state may go easier on you if you take the necessary steps to get a card. But there are no guarantees. It’s essential to get your medical marijuana card before you face criminal charges in Florida.

Is Driving After Smoking Marijuana Legal in Florida?

No, driving after smoking marijuana is not legal in Florida. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Florida. If you drive after smoking cannabis, you may face criminal drunk driving charges just as if you were over the legal limit for alcohol. If you cause an accident, you may be financially responsible to the victim for their injuries.

Tampa Attorneys for Marijuana Laws

Have you been hurt in an accident involving a driver that was smoking marijuana? You may deserve financial compensation. Even though Florida allows medical marijuana use, it’s still illegal to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. When you’re hurt by a driver who has been smoking marijuana, they may owe you financial compensation for your injuries.

The attorneys at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, can help you evaluate your case and determine your legal rights. We handle all types of car accident claims. Our team knows all of the latest marijuana laws, including the laws that relate to car accidents. We don’t stop until every accident victim has the compensation that they deserve. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

For more than 36 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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