Marijuana Charges

Tampa Marijuana Attorneys

Defense Against Marijuana Charges in Tampa & Across Florida

Arrested for a crime related to marijuana? If so, the time to act is now! Contact us as soon as possible to learn how Thomas & Paulk may be able to defend you against the possibility of conviction. We have represented thousands of clients in Tampa and statewide over the past 20 years, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you.

There are several defenses that your attorney may advance when representing you against Tampa marijuana charges. Call (813) 221-4200today to learn more.

For example, your lawyer may make a motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence to cripple the prosecuting attorney’s case. Tampa police officers and federal agents must have probable cause or a valid search warrant to search you or your property. Without probable cause, the evidence obtained in a search may be considered inadmissible if your lawyer files a motion to suppress this evidence. This is just one example of a potential defense against marijuana charges—various other strategies may benefit your case. 

Florida Medical Marijuana Laws

In the last 10 or 15 years, marijuana has become a hot topic of debate. Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it’s been determined to have “no acceptable medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” Many scientists, medical experts, researchers, and doctors strongly disagree that marijuana has no acceptable medical use. After all, there has been a growing body of science-backed research that shows the opposite. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse says two FDA-approved medications contain cannabinoids (chemicals in marijuana) and “continued research may lead to more medications.”

Today, medical marijuana can be legally used to treats numerous diseases and conditions, including and not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Seizures
  • Terminal illness
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • ALS
  • Crohn's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease

With so many healthcare providers and researchers recognizing the medical uses of marijuana, legislatures and voters across the country are taking notice and increasingly decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses. Some states have even legalized marijuana use.

Where Does Florida Stand on Marijuana?

21 states have decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, including Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont. If you notice, Florida is NOT on this list. That’s because Florida has not decriminalized minor marijuana offenses, at least not yet. 

However, the Florida Marijuana Policy Project is working hard to change that. Since June of 2015, several cities and counties have given officers the authority to issue citations to people for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana instead of arresting them. While this is a positive step in the right direction, many departments say they will continue arresting people for marijuana. So, the residents of Florida shouldn’t let their guard down.

Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes in Florida

The penalties for a marijuana crime will vary greatly depending on the alleged offense, as well as the amount involved. Simple possession of a small amount of marijuana may be charged as a misdemeanor. Distribution, trafficking, or cultivation of marijuana is typically a felony offense that may be punishable by time in state prison.

Facing marijuana charges in Tampa? We're here to help. Contact our team at Thomas & Paulk by calling (813) 221-4200 for a free initial consultation!

Marijuana Penalties in Tampa, FL

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

While some states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, Florida is not one of them. Currently, the state only allows a person to possess marijuana if they need it for medicinal purposes. Additionally, Florida has not decriminalized marijuana. While decriminalization doesn't mean something is legal to possess, it means that possession is only an infraction.

Florida penalties for marijuana possession include:

  • 20 grams or less: 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • 21 grams to 25 pounds: 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • 25 pounds to <2,000 pounds: Minimum of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 pounds to <10,000 pounds: Minimum of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • 10,000 pounds or more: Minimum of 15 years in prison and a $200,000 fine

Penalties for Selling Marijuana

Interestingly, the penalties for selling marijuana for Florida carry similar penalties to those for possessing it. However, selling marijuana might also be accompanied by additional charges related to drug trafficking, which could enhance any resulting penalties.

Penalties for selling marijuana in Florida include:

  • 20 grams or less: 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • 21 grams to 25 pounds: 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine
  • 25 pounds to <2,000 pounds: Minimum of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 pounds to <10,000 pounds: Minimum of 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • 10,000 pounds or more: Minimum of 15 years in prison and a $200,000 fine

If a person sells or delivers marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified areas, they can face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation

Marijuana cultivation refers to planting, growing, harvesting, curing, drying, and otherwise processing marijuana plants. 

The Florida mandatory minimum penalties for marijuana cultivation are:

  • 300 to 2,000 plants: 3 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine
  • 2,000 to 10,000 plants: 7 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine
  • 10,000+ plants: 15 years in prison and/or a $200,000 fine

Possessing Hash & Concentrates in Florida

Florida charges the possession, sale, or manufacturing of hash or concentrates as a third-degree felony. The crime carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, this charge will be escalated to a second-degree felony a person is accused of the crime near daycares, schools, parks, and more.

Diversion Programs for First-Time Marijuana Offenders

Florida has diversion programs designed for first-time misdemeanor and felony offenders who are willing to accept responsibility for their actions and seek rehabilitation, instead of simply facing penalties that do not help improve behavior. Upon successful completion of one of these programs, the offender escapes the stigma of a criminal record.

For example, the Felony Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI) is administered by the Florida Department of Corrections. Under the PTI program, first-time felony offenders are allowed to divert their case from the trial court and avoid a criminal conviction. To qualify for this program, the offender must have committed a qualifying, nonviolent third-degree felony.

If a defendant is eligible, he or she signs a written contract agreeing to successfully complete a drug treatment program. Once the defendant completes the program, the State’s Attorney’s Office drops the felony charges against the offender. In the face of felony drug charges, clearly this is the favorable alternative to a traditional prosecution.

A drug offender can't participate in the felony PTI program if they were caught possessing LSD, heroin, meth, or .5+ grams of cocaine.