With the passage of Amendment 2 in the state of Florida in 2016, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes became legal for people with qualifying conditions for specific uses. However, despite the legalization of medical marijuana, you can still be arrested for possession and unauthorized distribution of marijuana, even if you or the person you are selling it to are using it for medical reasons.
In this brief article, a drug defense attorney in Tampa shares information on who is protected by Amendment 2, and what to do if you are caught using marijuana, no matter the reason, without authorization.
Approved by Florida voters on November 8, 2016, Amendment 2 added a new section to the Florida Constitution entitled “Medical marijuana production, possession and use.” Amendment 2 was a major step in the legalization of cannabis and protects qualifying patients, caregivers, physicians, and medical marijuana dispensaries and their staff from criminal prosecutions or civil sanctions under Florida law.
To become a qualified patient, you must be a permanent or seasonal Florida resident, have a physician’s certification from a registered Florida doctor, and have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition (such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, MS, severe anxiety, depression, among others). The patient will then be entered into the medical marijuana use registry to obtain the required ID card. Medical marijuana is still federally illegal but is not often prosecuted on the federal level. Medical marijuana, or cannabis, is not the same as hemp — the distinction is important because hemp is also used medicinally and is legal in all 50 states and at the federal level.
Unfortunately, finding a physician who is able to prescribe medicinal marijuana may be difficult, and the process of becoming registered may be time-consuming and costly. Because of the state’s backlog of registrants, it may take weeks or even months to get your medical marijuana card. During that time, many people who are suffering may choose to turn to illegal methods to grow or obtain cannabis.
Although the need for medical marijuana may be great, without the proper prescription and ID card, you can still be arrested and face fines, probation, and even prison time for possessing or selling marijuana or paraphernalia related to marijuana. Furthermore, there may be restrictions on the type of cannabis allowed even for those with a card. For example, smokable marijuana has been the topic of many legal debates, while edible marijuana products are fully legal for medicinal use.
If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, even if you have a medical marijuana ID card and prescription, it is important to contact a drug defense lawyer in Tampa. The attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm have intimate knowledge of Amendment 2 and can employ a number of ways to defend against accusations of illegal marijuana use.