TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — To be blunt, it’s still illegal for most Floridians to possess any amount of marijuana. But that could change with a renewed push that aims to legalize the drug and remove its Schedule 1 association.
What could be next?
Efforts to legalize marijuana have dragged on for years, with the latest attempts failing in 2021.
A new push, submitted in March 2023 would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 years or older, establish the Division of Cannabis Management, and provide licensing for establishments wishing to market marijuana.
Since the bill’s filing, it has only been introduced to one agriculture committee. Due to the current legislative makeup, it’s unclear how likely the bill is to pass.
A recent poll from the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab, found that the majority of Floridians support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use.
The UNF poll of 1,452 people found that 70% would “strongly” or “somewhat” support people over the age of 21 buying a small amount of marijuana for personal use. Less than one-third, or 29% of respondents said they would either “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose an amendment.
Where are we now?
Currently, those found with 20 grams of cannabis or less could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000 — though some jurisdictions provide officers the discretion to replace arrests for possession of under 20 grams of cannabis with citations.
Possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis is a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
But not every Floridian would be punished for possession. Eligible Floridians can use medical marijuana legally, however, there are several restrictions to do so. Patients who wish to use marijuana in any of its forms must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:
- Positive status for HIV,
- Posttraumatic stress disorder,
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
- Crohn’s disease,
- Parkinson’s disease, and
- Multiple sclerosis.
Even then, restrictions apply. Dispensaries may not provide patients with more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana in a form for smoking for a 35-day supply unless an exception is approved.