What Is the Highest Possible Sentence for Marijuana in Florida?
While public perception of marijuana in Florida is shifting, serious penalties are still possible for anyone caught with this prohibited substance. In fact, the most serious penalties may shock many Florida residents, especially those who assume that criminal courts in the Sunshine State view this drug with a degree of leniency. What is the highest possible sentence for Marijuana in Florida?
Personal Use vs. Intent to Distribute Marijuana
In Florida, there is a notable difference between simply possessing marijuana for personal use and distributing the drug commercially. While the former is typically associated with lighter penalties, intent to distribute instantly makes this offense more serious.
How do criminal courts in Florida determine whether you were using the drug recreationally or distributing it to others? Generally speaking, prosecutors will arbitrarily assume that you were distributing the substance if you were caught with a high amount. Alternatively, this assumption may occur if you were caught with many packages of marijuana that were neatly separated into smaller amounts.
The least serious marijuana offense in Florida involves the possession of less than 20 grams, and it is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor. It is possible to spend up to one year in jail for this offense, and a fine of up to $1,000 may be issued. However, it’s worth mentioning that Broward County has authorized all municipalities – including Fort Lauderdale – to decriminalize marijuana. In other words, you probably won’t face any criminal consequences for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Fort Lauderdale.
Possession of More than 20 Grams
Broward County’s lenient approach to marijuana goes out the window as soon as you’re caught with more than 20 grams of marijuana. In this case, you will face a felony offense and a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. This might seem unreasonable to many regular marijuana users who purchase their personal supply in bulk. For instance, a smoker may purchase one ounce (28 grams) for the entire month. For some marijuana enthusiasts, a single ounce only lasts a few weeks at most.
The Worst Possible Marijuana Offense in Florida
The worst possible consequences related to marijuana involve possession of 10,000 pounds of cannabis or more. This offense may lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years. Technically speaking, it is possible to face an additional 15-year sentence if you are caught selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a college, school, or park. Theoretically, you would face 45 years in prison for marijuana-related offenses if you were selling the substance from a car containing 10,000 pounds of marijuana – and within 1,000 feet of a school, college, or park.
Get in Touch with a Drug Crime Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, look no further than Haber Blank, LLP. We know that facing serious consequences for marijuana in Florida might seem unreasonable – especially when so many other states are taking steps to decriminalize this drug completely. Book your consultation today to discuss the most appropriate defense strategy based on your specific situation.