The market for cannabis products is substantial. It seems like dispensaries are springing up overnight in every major city. Even though widespread exposure is likely to benefit the market, it often leaves consumers bewildered. Due to marijuana’s widespread availability, some may think it’s not a big deal to carry around a flower or a vape cartridge. However, even with a valid prescription, doing so could have serious legal consequences.

Is it true that weed is legal in the majority of the states?

Marijuana for medical purposes is now legal in many states. However, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug at the federal level. This means marijuana is still illegal to use, possess, or sell for any purpose at the federal level.

State cannabis laws vary greatly. In Florida, a medical marijuana patient may legally carry 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower or its equivalent in other forms if their doctor has recommended it to treat a qualifying condition. However, a medical marijuana card is not an excuse to break the law. Drug charges can be filed at the federal level if you try to board a plane with marijuana, cross state lines with it, or bring it onto federal land. Furthermore, even a routine traffic stop could turn out to be problematic. Protect yourself and your medical marijuana if you’re transporting it by hiding it in the trunk and carrying your doctor’s recommendation and medical marijuana card.

Activists in Florida are working to legalize recreational marijuana use, but even if they succeed, there will be limits on the drug’s availability. Possession limits will be put in place, and people will likely only be allowed to use marijuana in the privacy of their homes. Until then, there is no such thing as a “safe” level of marijuana.

Isn’t it time to stop criminalizing it?

Marijuana use and possession have been decriminalized in some parts of the state. This is not the same thing, however, as legalization. For example, for possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana, police in places like Miami-Dade County, Tampa, and Orlando may choose to write a citation and issue a ticket instead of making an arrest and filing charges. The cop may decide to do this, depending on where you are. For instance, even after Tampa decriminalized possession in 2016, police in Hillsborough County still routinely made arrests for it.

Possession of any amount of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia is risky until legalization or decriminalization becomes a state mandate.

Marijuana Possession

A misdemeanor charge can be brought against someone caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana. However, possession of more than 20 grams (up to 25 pounds) of marijuana is considered a felony and can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.

Possession of marijuana, smoking, or consumption paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

On the other hand, the federal government may impose fines on you no matter where you go. You will be subject to federal charges if you are detained in a federal facility, like a military base or Everglades National Park. Those guilty of federal drug charges face severe punishments from the federal justice system.

For example, possession within a certain distance of a school could result in harsher penalties.

Criminal activity involving cannabis

Possession of 25 pounds or more of marijuana, or the sale or attempted sale of marijuana, constitutes trafficking in cannabis. Mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines apply to traffic offenses, resulting in lengthy prison terms for offenders.

To sell or distribute cannabis is a very serious crime. Three years in prison and a $25,000 fine is the minimum penalty for possessing 25 pounds or more of cannabis or 300 cannabis plants. More money can make the punishment more severe (see table below).

The federal government can press charges against you if they discover you possessing marijuana on federal property like a national park or a military installation, in addition to the state’s charges.

You should consult an experienced drug lawyer in Tampa immediately for advice tailored to your specific situation; the information provided here is general. All these costs can negatively impact the ability to get a job, build credit, and find a place to live in the future. So be more than your current role! Quickly get in touch with a competent defense attorney in Tampa.

Protect yourself with reepher

With any cannabis drug test, regular users should expect positive results for THC. Even if you’re not under the influence and have a medical marijuana card, you could still face cannabis DUI charges if that THC is detected in your system.

reepher is a membership created specifically to protect cannabis users in the event of legal action. Suppose a reepher member is charged with a cannabis-related misdemeanor (i.e., driving under the influence, possessing cannabis, public intoxication, or possessing paraphernalia). In that case, the company will pay up to $15,000 to help cover the costs of your legal defense. You can count on this policy to help pay for legal representation, towing costs if your vehicle is ever impounded and more. Time spent in court is also compensated for with a daily allowance. 

This protection is offered by reepher in a wide range of states with varying cannabis laws, including those with strict prohibitions on cannabis use, such as South Carolina and Georgia. reepher is owned by Behavior Labs, industry pioneer in the behavior-based insurance space.