Florida Medical Marijuana LegalizationPublished: Nov 11, 2016 by Erika Valcarcel
Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure on Nov. 8 legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state by 71-29 percent, according to the Secretary of State. The measure required 60 percent approval to pass.
With the approval of Amendment 2, Florida joins what is now a majority of states in the U.S. that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. However, recreational use remains illegal and can result in criminal marijuana charges that require the help of a skilled Sarasota marijuana lawyer to fight.
What Amendment 2 Does
The ballot measure amends the Florida Constitution to allow the use of medical marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV, epilepsy, and PTSD, among others at a doctor’s discretion. The amendment expands a limited medical marijuana program enacted by the state legislature two years ago.
The Florida Department of Health will have responsibility for creating a regulatory framework for medical marijuana, with the state scheduled to begin registering cannabis growers, dispensaries, and other related businesses by October 2017.
The amendment also calls for the health department to issue ID cards to qualifying patients.
Much remains to be seen regarding how the amendment will be implemented over the next several months.
How Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization May Affect Prosecutions
Amendment 2 is intended to provide immunity from prosecution to qualified patients who use cannabis as a medical treatment in the manner prescribed by the law. However, it’s possible that arrests and prosecutions may continue as the details of the new law are worked out and implemented. A qualifying patient who is arrested for possession may be able to fight such a charge with the help of an attorney who understands the nuances of the amendment.
It’s also important to note that the use of marijuana, even for medical reasons, remains a federal crime that can be prosecuted in federal courts. Additionally, use, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana that does not comply with state laws and regulations may lead to criminal prosecutions.
Contact a Sarasota Marijuana Lawyer Today
Although Amendment 2 opened the door for medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients, recreational use can still result in various criminal charges related to possession, sales, or distribution. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense, you may face very serious consequences that include a jail or prison sentence, costly fines, and a permanent criminal record that can affect your life for years to come.
Your best chance at minimizing or avoiding the consequences of a marijuana conviction is with the help of an experienced Sarasota marijuana lawyer. Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. offers significant courtroom experience, both as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, that she can use to fight your charge.