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Florida Hemp Law Makes Prosecuting Marijuana Crimes Difficult

On July 1, 2019, the Florida Legislature passed a hemp law that legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-based products such as CBD oil.

Although the recreational use of cannabis is illegal in Florida, the new legislation has forced prosecutors throughout the state to stop prosecuting pending marijuana cases and even dismiss marijuana-related convictions.

The definition of cannabis has been changed to products with more than .3 percent of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that causes a high. Anything below is considered hemp.

Crime labs and field tests in each county do not possess the equipment to test THC levels. Current tests only determine the amount of cannabinoids in a person’s system, not THC.

Although state police can rely on circumstantial evidence—such as the look and odor of marijuana, red eyes, delayed reactions, and slurred speech—to obtain probable cause make an arrest, hemp and cannabis feel and smell the same. This also means that officers cannot rely on K-9 alerts to establish probable cause.

Despite making an arrest based on circumstantial evidence, prosecutors cannot bring marijuana cases to court without ab testing. Even if labs obtain certification to test THC levels, most state attorney offices must take into account the cost of testing before prosecuting a case.

Possession of at least 20 grams of marijuana in Florida is punishable by a maximum one-year jail term and a fine no more than $1,000.

If you have been arrested for a marijuana crime in Miami, contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today at (305) 670-9919 and request a free case evaluation to explore your legal options and avoid conviction.

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