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What are the possible penalties for marijuana crimes in Florida?

Marijuana laws vary a great deal from state to state. While Florida is moving toward allowing the cultivation, processing and dispensation of medical marijuana, illegal possession of cannabis can still result in very serious charges.

The charges related to marijuana are possession, sale and trafficking. In general, possession of marijuana is a third-degree felony. However, if you are accused of possessing less than 20 grams, then the charge is typically a first-degree misdemeanor.

Sale of marijuana in Florida is also a third-degree felony, unless the amount in question is less than 20 grams. In that case, the defendant would face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. A subsequent conviction for selling marijuana could result in a 10-year prison sentence.

The severity of drug charges typically depends on the amount of the drug, the type of the drug and the perceived intention of the defendant. Did you intend to sell, distribute or traffic the drug, or was the drug for personal use?

In Florida, if the amount of marijuana exceeds 25 pounds, then the defendant will face a trafficking charge. Mandatory sentences are imposed for drug trafficking convictions. If the amount of marijuana weighs between 25 and 2,000 pounds, then the mandatory penalty is a three-year prison sentence and a fine of $25,000. A seven-year sentence and a fine of $50,000 may be imposed if the weight of marijuana is between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, and possession of marijuana weighing more than 10,000 pounds could result in a 15-year sentence and a fine of $200,000.

The state website offers an in-depth look at Florida's drug statutes.

And an article in the Pensacola News Journal has more on the future of medical marijuana in Florida.

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