Federal law still bans the use of marijuana for any reason. However, Florida is one of the states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana. While many residents are in favor of legalized marijuana, Florida has not legalized marijuana for recreational use.
In the article below, our Florida criminal defense attorney discusses how individuals can lawfully use medical marijuana in Florida.
What are the Rules for Medical Marijuana Use in Florida?
The possession and use of medical marijuana must comply with very specific rules and laws. Anyone violating medical marijuana laws can face criminal charges.
- Obtain an Identification Card
Before you can legally use marijuana for medical purposes, you must obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card.
- Medical Marijuana May Only Be Used for Certain Diseases
Patients may only use medical marijuana for specific medical conditions. The patient must be diagnosed by a physician with a qualifying condition before an identification card may be issued. Examples of qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV, epilepsy, PTSD, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS.
- Purchase and Possession of Marijuana
A patient may only obtain medical marijuana from a marijuana treatment center. Purchasing marijuana from a person or a business that is not licensed to sell medical marijuana is a crime. If a person is in possession of marijuana without a valid identification card, the person may be charged with a crime.
- Smoking Medical Marijuana is Prohibited
Patients are prohibited from possessing or using medical marijuana in a form for smoking. However, the matter is currently the subject of litigation.
In May 2018, Leon County Circuit Court issued a ruling stating that Florida’s ban on smoking medical marijuana was unconstitutional. The state appealed the decision immediately following the judge’s ruling. The court heard oral arguments from both sides, but a decision has not been granted. Gov. DeSantis said he was “not committed” to upholding the ban on smoking medical marijuana. However, the issue of smoking medical marijuana is still being litigated and debated.
- Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana is Illegal
It may be legal to use medical marijuana, but it remains illegal to operate a vehicle if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, including medical marijuana. Therefore, a driver could be arrested and convicted of impaired driving even though he or she has a medical marijuana identification card.
Have You Been Charged with a Crime Related to Medical Marijuana?
If you are charged with a crime related to medical marijuana, don’t panic. As with any criminal charge, a person charged with a medical marijuana violation should exercise the right to remain silent and the right to consult with an attorney.
Even though medical marijuana may be legal in Florida, patients who violate Florida drug laws can be charged and convicted of a crime. The penalties for drug charges in Florida can be severe. Fines, jail time, probation, and other penalties can have long-term consequences for individuals. Even a minor technical infraction, such as an expired medical marijuana card, should be taken seriously.
Consult a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney About Medical Marijuana Charges
Because the laws related to medical marijuana are still evolving, it is a good idea to consult with a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately if you are charged with a crime. Your charge may or may not be valid according to current medical marijuana laws.