Florida Approves Smoking Medical Marijuana
The debate over legalizing marijuana continues to be a polarizing political issues in America today. Despite this polarization, sweeping reforms have been made across the county, particularly as it relates to medical marijuana. States like California and several others have either partially legalized marijuana by allowing its use in a medical context or have fully-legalized marijuana for recreational use by completely decriminalizing it.
This past month, Florida joined other states in passing legislation to change the way marijuana is regulated by allowing patients to smoke marijuana for medical reasons. Despite these reforms, cannabis remains a controlled substance in Florida, and it’s illegal to possess any amount without a prescription. That means if you’re arrested for marijuana possession in the state, you’ll still need the services of a criminal defense attorney.
Medical Marijuana in Florida: Past and Present
Prior to the election of Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, the Florida Legislature had banned patients from smoking marijuana, even for medical reasons. Instead, medical marijuana was allowed in other forms, including edibles, baked goods and oils.
In November 2016, Florida voters had supported Amendment 2, a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, with 71% approving it. However, the measure did not allow patients to smoke medical marijuana, until a court overturned that ban in 2018.
When DeSantis took office in January, he urged Florida lawmakers to repeal the ban, which they did. That marked a stunning turn for many of Florida’s lawmakers, a move that also received bipartisan support from Democrats like Florida Agriculture Commission Nikki Fried.
Changes to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Regulations
While marijuana still remains criminalized in non-medical settings, the new bill represents some significant changes as far as the state’s marijuana policy is concerned.
The bill makes the following changes and institutes several parameters:
- Marijuana Use for Certain Medical Conditions: Effective immediately, marijuana is now an approved treatment for a number of ailments, most commonly chronic pain as well as treatment for terminally ill patients.
- Public Use Remains Criminalized: The recent changes to Florida’s marijuana policy, allowing it as a medically viable treatment, don’t impact how law enforcement treats use of marijuana in public. Even medically approved users of marijuana are not permitted to publicly smoke or use marijuana.
- Marijuana Laws Largely Remain the Same: The recent measures favor the advocates of medical marijuana use, but it remains a criminalized substance for recreational use.
Hire an Experienced Marijuana Defense Attorney
If you’re arrested for illegal possession of cannabis, it’s crucial to hire an experienced drug possession lawyer to avoid the consequences of a conviction. At the Umansky Law Firm, we know what it takes to defend those accused of marijuana possession in Florida.
Led by the husband-and-wife team of Zahra and William D. Umansky, our legal team brings more than 100 combined years of criminal defense experience to the table. No matter the charge, we provide thorough defense and personalized attention to each and every case. Give us a call 24/7 or complete our online contact form today.