With the governor having signed a bill allowing use of medical marijuana for terminally ill patients, and a bill permitting wider use of medical marijuana on the fall ballot, it's easy to be confused over what is and what isn't legal.
This confusion can lead to an arrest that can have a lasting effect on your life. Here is the status of Florida's medical marijuana laws.
- The bill signed by Governor Rick Scott legalized medical marijuana for terminally ill patients only.
- A previous law passed in 2014 legalized a certain form of cannabis for epilepsy patients. However, legal challenges and other issues have prevented users from getting access to cannabis under the law.
- A bill providing broader legalization of medical marijuana will be put to voters this fall.
Until and unless Florida voters pass the fall ballot measure, it is easy to run afoul of Florida's marijuana laws. Florida's current medical marijuana law is far more restrictive than the laws of many states. If you obtain medical marijuana with a prescription in another state for a non-terminal condition, that marijuana will become illegal as soon as you cross the border into Florida. You could be charged with a serious crime even if even if you obtained the drug legally in the other state
Outside of the limited scope of Florida's medical marijuana law, possession of marijuana in our state is a crime, subject to severe penalties. You could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession. Even a misdemeanor conviction would result in a permanent criminal record which could affect you in employment and other areas of your life. If you are a student, you could be denied federal student loans if you are convicted of marijuana possession.