Laws surrounding marijuana have changed significantly in recent years. Florida is one of many states reconsidering the penalties for possession; some officials believe the consequences that come with minor drug offenses such as possession of marijuana are far too harsh. Yet even with the state’s gradual shift toward legalization, there may still be a long way to go.
There is much debate over whether medical marijuana laws should end there, or if the state should allow recreational use, as well. What might the future of marijuana look like in Florida, and is a happy medium possible? Regardless of views, the penalties for recreational possession can last much longer than one might think.
While the laws may differ depending on the state, NORML shares that Florida’s qualifying conditions for medical marijuana are cancer, muscle spasms, seizures and terminal illness. Furthermore, there are patient limits for all qualifying illnesses, with the exception of terminal illness. When it comes to recreational use, NORML also clarifies that, with 20 grams or less, a person may face a misdemeanor charge, one year of jail time and a $1,000 fee. Someone caught with more than 20 grams could end up with a 5-year incarceration sentence and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The medical marijuana laws in the state may appear strict, but according to the Marijuana Policy Project, the future is bright in the sunshine state. According to MPP, an update last month confirmed that a wider range of patients may soon qualify for medical marijuana licenses. Applicants must provide financial statements and pass a background check, but a law regulating Amendment 2 allows an expansion of the number of licenses to growers in the state. The steps may be small, but it is clear that Florida’s views toward the issue as a whole are changing.