If I have a Florida-issued medical marijuana card, can I still get arrested for possession of marijuana?

You may wonder if you can still be arrested for possession of marijuana, even if you have your Florida medical marijuana identification card. The answer is yes. The following article will discuss and interpret the medical marijuana laws in Florida to guide you so you are aware of the limitations.

In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 8A, otherwise known as the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. Under Senate Bill 8A, residents of Florida may qualify for the use of medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition, such as cancer, PTSD, Epilepsy, etc., by a certified physician.  Upon approval, the physician will send a recommendation to the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use for you to be granted approval to use medical marijuana for treatment. If approved, you will set up a Medical Marijuana Use account, pay a small fee, and you will be added to the Medical Marijuana Use registry and issued a license. Only state-licensed Medical Marijuana Centers, also called dispensaries, are legally allowed to distribute marijuana.

Here lies the misunderstanding where people think it’s smooth sailing from here. In Florida, you are allowed to use medical marijuana if you comply with the following regulations:

  • A patient can only carry a maximum of 4 Oz. of marijuana flower at a time and must be 18 years of age or older unless they have proof of a caregiver. Additionally, you may not use medical marijuana on any public transportation, any public place, and school grounds, including places for functions and transportation. That also includes using marijuana while operating personal vehicles, such as your car or a boat. If transporting medical marijuana, be sure to keep it in the original packaging to ensure its legality if pulled over by police.

Additional challenges include an apartment complex or a workplace, which have their own discretion and may deny the use of medical marijuana on the premises. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act in federal law. Federal law supersedes state law, so even though medical marijuana use is allowed in Florida per state law, employers and landlords still have the right to refuse the use of medical marijuana under federal law.

Obtaining a medical marijuana card does not put you above the law. Following state regulations is imperative; refusal can lead to an arrest. Drug possession laws are still applicable without your card or if caught with more than the allotted 4 ounces of marijuana flower. Traveling without your card or refusing to produce the card if stopped by the police is a 2nd degree misdemeanor. Now, if you are charged with a violation of traveling without your card, as long as you can produce a Florida medical marijuana registry card that was valid at the time of the charge, either before or at the time of court appearance, the court will most likely drop the charges.

There are many websites that provide resources and pamphlets on Florida’s medical marijuana law. These websites are at the forefront of the Florida cannabis industry and can provide more in-depth information on Florida’s laws and statutes. Those websites include CannaMD Resources, CannaMD Florida Marijuana Laws, The Office of Medical Marijuana Use Brochures, and NORML Florida Marijuana Laws. All websites include information that can be printed and kept in your car, purse, backpack, etc., to be referenced at a moment’s notice if ever caught in a situation.

Should you ever be caught in a situation where criminal charges arise, call the Law Office of Adams & Luka today to discuss your options and how the medical marijuana card can work in your favor.

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I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

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Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECCOMEND. Marcela Giorgi
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