Today’s most popular and somewhat controversial topic in the criminal justice arena involves the legalization of marijuana. Until 1970, it was a crime to possess marijuana in every state of the union and is currently only legal in eleven states. Of course, Florida still prohibits the possession of cannabis along with the Federal Government. This seems to be another factor in the long line of stories where the government refuses to follow the will of the people. The legalization of cannabis is supported by a large majority of Americans but as usual, politicians believe they know what is best and have not taken any significant action to pursue such legalization in our state.
Recently there has been some progress made on this front. While recreational cannabis has not yet hit our legislators’ radar, medicinal marijuna was recently legalized. This again, was not thanks to any actions by our elected officials. Instead, the voters of Florida petitioned for the amendment to be added to the Florida Constitution. Then, during the general election, it was passed with over 60% of the vote. Medicinal cannabis is still heavily restricted and requires special circumstances to qualify for, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Because cannabis is still recreationally illegal, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer if you are caught with cannabis.
Even though the electorate of Florida overwhelmingly passed the amendment allowing for medicinal cannabis. The powers that be did everything they could to hamstring and limit the effects of the law. Instead of trying to focus on providing medical aid and relief for people who suffered from illnesses aided by cannabis, our lawmakers just tried to restrict its use and pander to special interests. For example, smokable cannabis was initially barred from the medicinal cannabis law, even though that is the most common and most natural form of marijuana. Instead, medicinal cannabis card carriers were required to obtain low-TCH edibles, oils, and inhalers produced by corporate interests with ballooning profits. This aspect of the law was challenged and thankfully our supreme court overturned it and allowed medical marijuana patients to consume smokable cannabis.
The legalization of medicinal cannabis has had a noted effect on criminal justice. People placed on probation or in diversion programs within the state of Florida have been historically required to submit to randomized drug tests. Anyone involved in the criminal justice system knows that an extremely common violation of probation is a positive urine test for cannabis. Now, those people who require marijuana use for medical and mental health reasons can obtain their medicinal use card and use cannabis even while on probation or in a diversion program. If you have questions about how cannabis use might affect your probation or other criminal penalties, you should consult an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer.
Cannabis legalization efforts have also started to have an effect on the application of the Fourth Amendment. Previously, police around the state commonly used the odor of cannabis emitting from a car or a person to justify a warrantless search. Now that cannabis has been legalized for medicinal use and hemp products have become much more widely available, this justification has begun to be challenged in the court system. While a final answer to the question has yet to be reached, we may soon be experiencing a more interesting phenomenon. Several groups have begun a push to have recreational marijuana listed as an issue on the upcoming constitutional amendment ballot. If that is added and passed, Florida will become one of the growing number of states allowing legal recreational cannabis, which is yet another step in the right direction of allowing personal liberty.Hire a Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, while there is hope for the future, marijuana is still illegal today. If you are charged with possession of cannabis, you should contact our experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorneys at Hanlon Law. Call today at (727) 897-5413.