Is Marijuana Now Legal In Florida?
On November 8th, voters in Florida legalized medical marijuana by approving Amendment 2, meaning that anyone who has a prescription may legally purchase and use marijuana under some circumstances. However, it is important to note that the state of Florida will first need to create some rules concerning how the state will regulate the substance, and in addition, regardless of whether someone has obtained a prescription for medical marijuana, you can still be arrested for potentially driving under the influence of drugs if you drive after smoking marijuana.
According to state lawmakers, the process for creating and implementing these regulations won’t begin until March of 2017, at the earliest—two months after the amendment officially goes into effect. Specifically, the measure enables individuals with debilitating medical conditions—like cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, etc.—to legally obtain marijuana in order to help treat their conditions. The Florida Department of Health will oversee regulation and enforcement issues.
The Law in Florida
Florida already has a medical marijuana program in place allowing low-THC products (not to be smoked); however, this amendment aims to expand the existing program and make medical marijuana more available, in different forms, and in general, for additional medical purposes.
Regardless of the new amendment legalizing medical marijuana for more people and in stronger forms, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Florida. This is because state law defines “under the influence” as operating a vehicle while one is affected by drugs, alcohol, or a combination therefore such that their normal faculties are impaired. Having a prescription does not mean that you are allowed to drive while under the influence of whatever drug—including marijuana—you are affected by; it means that you will face the same penalties as anyone else driving under the influence, including:
- First conviction: by a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and up to six months in prison;
- Second conviction: by a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 and no more than nine months in prison; as well as mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device for at least one year; and
- Third conviction: prosecuted as a third degree felony if the violation takes place within 10 years of a prior conviction.
Contact a Boca Raton criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation
If you or someone you know has been accused of a drug crime or arrested on suspicion of a DUI, you should retain qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. The penalties associated with these charges are not minor. You can lose your driver’s license, serve jail time, pay significant fines, permanently face employment discrimination, etc.
The experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys of Lavalle Brown & Ronan are dedicated to helping those accused of crimes receive the best legal defense out there. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office today at 888-646-1315 or contacting us online.