Possession of Marijuana in Florida
In Florida, it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription.
In Florida, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance and it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription.
Importantly, cannabis concentrates, such as such as cannabis resin, cannabis wax, cannabis oil, hashish oil, cannabis budder, and cannabis crumble do not fall under the legal definition of cannabis in Florida and are prosecuted as a separate felony crime.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession
The penalties for marijuana possession depend on whether you are charged with possession of less than twenty grams of marijuana, which is considered misdemeanor possession, or possession of twenty grams or more of marijuana, which is considered felony possession.
Penalties for Possession of less than 20 grams of Marijuana
In Florida, the crime of Possession of less than 20 grams of Cannabis is a First Degree Misdemeanor and punishable by up to one (1) year in jail, one (1) year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
A judge may sentence a person convicted of Possession of less than 20 grams of Cannabis to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of one year in jail.
Penalties for Possession of 20 grams or more of Marijuana
The crime of Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis is a Third Degree Felony and punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code and a judge may sentence a person convicted of Possession of 20 grams or more of Cannabis to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of five years in prison.
Driver License Suspension
Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of Cannabis will have their driverвЂ™s license or driving privilege suspended for six months by the Florida DHSMV .
Defenses to Marijuana Possession
In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific and common defenses to the crime of Possession of Marijuana are:
If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Marijuana: 
- Knowledge of the cannabis’ presence;
- Dominion and control over the cannabis.
Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Marijuana.
Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend’s car and police found cannabis in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana unless they had some proof that you knew the cannabis was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes his personal stash of weed and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend’s stash, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana because even though you knew the marijuana was there, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.
Illegal Search and Seizure
More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.
Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.
Lack of Knowledge
It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Marijuana if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was cannabis. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance’s illegal nature. 
The defense of medical necessity can be used when a person suffers from a physical illness or ailment for which there was no lawful medication available to properly treat the illness or ailment and cannabis was the only substance that could relieve the pain or suffering of the person. 
A person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose that needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Marijuana if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. 
While it seems obvious, many people are arrested for possession of cannabis when they are unable to produce a medical marijuana use registry identification card that was valid at the time of arrest. These arrests usually occur when law enforcement have stopped you for suspicious behavior and discover the cannabis stored in a suspicious manner or without any proof of a validly issued medical marijuana card from the State of Florida.
However, if you can produce a valid medical marijuana use registry identification card that was issued prior to your arrest, the charge will be dismissed. 
The defense of temporary possession can be raised where a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of cannabis from the true owner. Under such circumstances, the person is not considered to be in legal possession of the cannabis because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the cannabis. 
Examples of temporary possession are when a person is handed cannabis by the true owner and asked to hide it during a police encounter, such as a traffic stop; or when holding cannabis in the presence of a drug dealer for the sole purpose of verifying or testing the cannabis prior to purchasing it; or when passing the cannabis from the owner to a third person.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby
If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of Cannabis in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.
The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.
Possession of Marijuana in Florida In Florida, it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis without a prescription. In Florida, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance and it is a