In Florida, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most serious category of controlled substance. Recreational marijuana for any personal use is illegal in the state, so the consequences for the sale and delivery of the Schedule I drug are severe. Keep reading today’s blog to learn about the penalties for a charge related to selling marijuana, which will depend on the amount of marijuana allegedly sold.
Florida’s Marijuana Laws
The possession, sale, and manufacture (cultivation) of marijuana is heavily regulated by both state and federal law. Medical marijuana is allowed on a limited basis in the state, but personal consumption is illegal. The potential penalties depend on the amount possessed.
Possession for personal use, 20 or fewer grams, is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Purchase or possession of more than 20 grams for personal use, though, is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of as much as $5,000.
Beyond possession, the manufacture, sale, or distribution of marijuana (or with the intent to do so), is a crime in Florida, as is marijuana trafficking and possession or sale of drug paraphernalia. The penalties, like with possession, will vary based on the amount in possession and the nature of the offense.
Penalties for Manufacturing or Selling
It is illegal to grow or sell marijuana – or possess the substance with the intent to do these things – or to knowingly maintain a property on which these activities will take place. The sentencing will depend on the amount manufactured or sold and whether the crime was committed in a drug-free area, such as a school or church, which would enhance an individual’s penalties.
Manufacturing, selling, or possessing marijuana with the intent to do so is considered a third-degree felony that carries up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If this activity occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, public recreation area, place of worship, public housing facility, or assisted living facility, an offender will face a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Another factor that could enhance the penalties against an offender is if the sale involves a person younger than 18. Someone older than 18 who sells marijuana to a minor younger than 18 (or who hires a minor to sell marijuana to other people), is guilty of a second degree felony that carries up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Note that if an individual gives away marijuana without receiving compensation, the activity is not considered a sale, though they will still face penalties. Someone who delivers or gives away up to 20 grams of marijuana without being paid is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.
Consequences of Trafficking
Trafficking crimes often involve the use of property for drug-related activity. It is illegal in Florida to keep or maintain a store, warehouse, vehicle, or other structure in the state to cultivate, manufacture, or store marijuana or use such a structure as a point from which to distribute marijuana or other drugs. A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Be aware that trafficking marijuana includes knowingly selling, buying, or manufacturing more than 25 pounds of marijuana or 300 or more cannabis plants. Violators are guilty of a first-degree felony known as “trafficking in cannabis,” which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
The specific mandatory minimum sentences will depend on the amounts involved:
- 25-2,000 pounds or 300-2,000 cannabis plants – mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a fine of $25,000
- 2,000-10,000 pounds or 2,000-10,000 plants – mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison and a fine of $50,000
- 10,000 pounds or more, or 10,000 plants or more – mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $200,000
Note that it is illegal to bring any amount of marijuana into Florida from out of state, even if the amount is less than the definitions above for trafficking. A violation of importing marijuana into Florida is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of as much as $5,000.
Seek an Attorney to Represent Your Case
If you have been accused of selling marijuana in Florida, reach out to a lawyer immediately. Any type of marijuana charge is punished seriously in the state, so it is advisable to work with an attorney who can defend your case and try to reduce your charge, such as arguing that you did not receive compensation for your alleged distribution and thus do not meet the legal definition of a marijuana sale.
Schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of David A. Webster, P.A., to discuss your case with an attorney today.