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Marijuana, Florida, and 2018: How the Law Might Change

06 January 2018

In October of 2017, 64% of Americans said that they support the legalization of marijuana. This represents an all time high. Public support for marijuana has been reflected in how states and politicians vote. States like Colorado, Washington, and Vermont have made cannabis broadly legal, while other parts of the country have chosen to stay the course.

As a state criminal defense attorney, I want you to stay up to date on marijuana law.

The Backlash

Marijuana has always been illegal at a federal level. Under our last president, the Justice Department drew up federal guidelines that limited the prosecution of businesses or individuals who legally sold cannabis under state law. This means that federal prosecutors would turn a blind eye to people selling or distributing marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally rescinded the policy, and stated that all future prosecution would be left to individual US attorneys. This is discouraging for marijuana-related businesses, but the exact implications of these new moves are not clear yet.

Amendment 2 Implementation

Florida passed Amendment 2 on November 8th, 2016. This bill made it possible for doctors to prescribe marijuana to people for medicinal purposes. You may be asking yourself why we have included this, since the vote happened in 2016 and we are looking into the future.

The facts of the matter are somewhat complicated. A law is only really a law if it is enforced, and certain politicians have not been enthusiastic about the spirit of the law. The Florida House and Senate approved legislation that prohibited patients from inhaling herbal preparations of cannabis. Certain cities in Florida, such as Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, and Golf have fought back against Amendment 2 their own way.

That being said, those who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, or another serious disease, are eligible to receive a 70-day supply of cannabis infused oils or edible products.

The Florida Cannabis Act

There was an attempt to get legal marijuana on the ballot, via the Florida Cannabis Act. Unfortunately, the petition did not get enough signatures by February 1st. That means that it will be left off of the ballot come November.

The act would have meant that marijuana was treated the same way alcohol is. Everyone over the age of 21 would have been able to consume it however they liked, provided that they were not driving or going too far with it. Proponents of the law have pointed out how similar certain side effects of marijuana are to alcohol. In some cases, marijuana is not as bad as alcohol for your health.

The fact that the petition did not gather enough support did not stop the movement completely. Supporters of legalization are already looking ahead to 2020. Organizing and cash flow issues hampered efforts in the past, and now the movement has a better understanding of what they need to do.

If you need a criminal attorney, Piotrowski Law is here to help. Many people believe that just because they are innocent, that they do not need a lawyer. This is not always the case. Retaining the services of a lawyer is the only way that you can be sure that you are treated fairly. We can help you today. Contact us today to get started.

Chad Piotrowski - post author

Chad Piotrowski is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida. He is a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and has practiced criminal law, exclusively, for more than 10 years.

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