Decriminalized vs Legalized: What’s the Difference?
People often think that because marijuana has been decriminalized that it is now legal. You’d be wrong to think that.
Individual possession and use of a previously illegal substance are no longer punishable by law if the drug in question has been legalized. Although alcohol is technically a controlled substance, people over the age of 21 are not only permitted but encouraged to possess it.
Decriminalization of a substance, however, does not affect civil penalties. Possession of a small amount of marijuana would no longer be a criminal offense, though it could still result in fines or other civil penalties. Local governments in some parts of Florida, including Tampa and Hillsborough County, have removed cannabis from their lists of illegal substances.
The possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana in one’s possession would be considered decriminalized. That could get you arrested for drug possession in states where marijuana is still illegal. Rather than facing criminal charges, a person caught with marijuana in a decriminalized state would likely receive a citation or fine instead.
In the event you are caught with marijuana and it is not decriminalized or legalized, you will likely face a criminal charge. If you or a loved one is arrested for marijuana possession, contact an experienced Jacksonville drug defense attorney today.
Local Marijuana Decriminalization in Florida
While the state of Florida has not decriminalized cannabis and still views possession as a crime, some cities and areas in Florida have passed their own decriminalization laws. The following counties and cities have passed marijuana decriminalization in Florida:
- Alachua County
- Broward County
- Cocoa Beach
- Hallandale Beach
- Key West
- Miami Beach
- Miami-Dade County
- Osceola County
- Palm Beach County
- Port Richey
- Volusia County
- West Palm Beach County
Punishment for Marijuana Charges in Jacksonville, FL
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, though most cases are settled without the defendant having to serve time. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The minimum prison time for possession with intent to sell or trafficking is substantially higher. Working to avoid even a misdemeanor level possession charge is important because criminal convictions could be entered in all cases.
Jacksonville Drug Defense Lawyer
The Legal Team at Lockett Law fights for the rights of the accused across the greater Jacksonville area, from Fernandina Beach to St. Augustine and from Atlantic Beach to Middleburg. If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug crime in Northeast Florida, contact us at (904) 447-8950 to setup your free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville, FL.