Marijuana: What is it and is it legal in the State of Florida?
Is Marijuana Legal in the State of Florida?
Marijuana is currently legal in Florida, but only for medical use. Floridians voted yes for Amendment 2 in the previous election effectively legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, but getting a medical marijuana card is not as simple as going to your doctor and complaining about chronic pain.
Those who wish to obtain a medical marijuana card must pay an examination fee that can range from $150 to $250 to see a certified “pot doctor.” The doctor will check to see if you indeed have one of the approved conditions and confirm that you’ve first tried alternative solutions that were unsuccessful. If he signs off, you’ll need to send your application and $75 to the Florida Department of Health and then wait roughly a month to get your card in the mail and have your name added to the Compassionate Use Registry.
The card does, however, expire rather quickly. After 30 weeks you must get your pot doc to sign off on your condition. After a year passes you’ll have to take another $150+ trip to your pot doc for another in-person evaluation.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is derived from the hemp plant known as Cannabis Sativa and consists of stems, flowers, seeds, and leaves that are a dry mix of green and brown.
How is Marijuana Used?
To extract the primary chemical, THC, users will smoke the marijuana by rolling it into a cigarette or using a tobacco pipe. A blunt is also another common way to smoke cannabis. Tobacco from a cigar is emptied out and then refilled with marijuana before rolling it back up. This is a very popular method because the blunt retains the nicotine and other chemicals from the tobacco.
In addition to smoking, marijuana edibles can be made by mixing Cannabis with food such as brownies. Hash oil, which is a more concentrated form of the drug, is mixed in with the ingredients of the food to make the edible. One can also smoke hash by itself with the use of a torch lighter and a bong. The use of portable vaporizers has also become increasingly popular in recent years.
Does Marijuana Affect Brain Function?
When a person smokes pot, the THC is quickly absorbed into their bloodstream and carried to the brain and rest of the body. The high that is experienced from marijuana is caused by the cannabinoid receptors. Reactions are created when THC is carried to these receptors which in turn creates the “high” feeling. Cannabinoid receptors are not found throughout every area of the brain, but the areas that influence pleasure, thoughts, concentration, and coordination have the most receptors
As a result of cannabis intoxication, users can end up with impaired coordination and difficulty thinking. Research has proven that after the drug wears off, marijuana can still negatively impact memory and learning for many weeks. It has also been found that long-term abuse of marijuana can have similar effects on the brain as long-term abuse of other major drugs.
Abusing marijuana can lead to addiction or drug-seeking behavior. Those trying to quit after long-term use may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.
What Other Effects Does Marijuana Have on the Body?
A recent study on marijuana’s health effects discovered that those who smoke pot are four times more likely to have a heart attack. Marijuana smoke has also been shown to contain several carcinogens and can be damaging to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains twice as much carcinogenic hydrocarbons than cigarette smoke.
Many people are not aware of this and ignore the idea that pot smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as a daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways.
Do Treatment Options Exist For Marijuana Users?
Cognitive therapy and motivational goals have been shown to be effective in treating addictions to marijuana. Currently, there are no medications available, but recent scientific studies have expanded on the chemical function of cannabis and offer hope that medicine will be developed to make the withdrawal process easier.
What Should I Do If I Get Arrested for Marijuana Possession?
If you are arrested for marijuana possession in the Greater Central Florida area, contact a local drug crime defense lawyer who has over 20 years of experience with marijuana cases. As former prosecutors, our attorneys have tried hundreds of cases in Florida, giving us a unique advantage over other Orlando law firms. Hiring an experienced attorney is critical to the outcome of the case as you may face penalties including driver’s license suspension, probation or in some cases, jail or prison time.
If you have been charged or arrested for possession of marijuana in Orlando, Windermere, Baldwin Park, Avalon Park, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Celebration, Kissimmee, or in Orange, Lake, Seminole or Osceola County, call us for a free case evaluation or chat with us live 24/7. Let our former prosecutors help you today!