Florida may have legalized medical cannabis, but did you know that you could face felony marijuana charges if you possess even tiny amounts of THC concentrates? This comes to a surprise to most people, and it’s an especially unpleasant realization, since vaping and dabbing marijuana concentrates are some of the most popular methods for consuming the cannabis plant. If you enjoy edibles, hash, wax, oils or any other cannabis derivative, you should exercise extreme caution.
Fortunately, the state legislature is now considering the legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida. But until these reforms pass, innocent people will continue to be targeted by needlessly harsh laws and aggressive prosecutors. In these situations, you can count on Sarasota marijuana charges attorney Erika Valcarcel, who has a have a proven track record of helping her clients avoid the devastating penalties of felony drug possession. Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today for a free consultation at (941) 363-7900.
Possession of THC Concentrates Is a Third-Degree Felony
Although medical cannabis is now legal in Florida, the plant and its derivatives remain schedule I substances under the state’s controlled substance act. Schedule I substances are those that have no recognized medical use, and a high potential for abuse. What the legalization of medical marijuana did is create a defense to criminal charges for people who have a medical marijuana card, and who also obey all of the state’s medical cannabis laws.
There is yet another marijuana exception to Florida’s controlled substance act, which you can find under Florida Statute 893.13(6)(b). The possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail. However, this exception defines “cannabis” in a way that excludes “the resin extracted from the plants of the genus Cannabis, or any compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin.”
This means that if you do not have a medical marijuana card, and you get caught with any amount of any type of manufactured cannabis – from oils, to hash, and even edibles – you will not fall under any of the cannabis exceptions of Florida law. In this scenario, you would face third-degree felony charges, carrying a potential sentence of five years in prison along with $5,000 in fines. In addition to these criminal penalties, you will have to cope with the collateral consequences of a felony conviction, which include restricted employment opportunities and the loss of your right to own firearms.
Will Florida’s Unjust Marijuana Laws Change this Year?
Democratic state representatives Michael Grieco and Carlos Guillermo Smith have introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Known as Florida House Bill 1117, the legislation would allow anyone over the age of 21 to grow up to six cannabis plants and to possess, use, or transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The bill would set up a system for regulating and taxing marijuana in the same manner as alcohol or tobacco.
However, House Speaker Jose Oliva’s opposition to recreational cannabis is well-documented. So, House Bill 1117 might not even get heard on the floor, much less selected for a vote. But less controversial marijuana bills could get heard this session, which includes an effort to codify the 2016 voter initiative to legalize medical marijuana. Such a bill could potentially address the injustice of felony charges for the possession of small amounts of concentrates, but it’s too early to tell what direction the legislation will take.
Are You Facing Felony Marijuana Charges? Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. for Help
Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is closely following the legislative developments surrounding cannabis. If you or a loved one has been charged with a marijuana crime, you should act now to give your case the best chances of a positive resolution. Call Sarasota drug crime lawyer Erika Valcarcel today at (941) 363-7900, or reach out online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.View All Blogs