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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Is marijuana legal in Florida?

For decades, marijuana has been classified as an illegal substance by the federal government. Penalties for possession and use often included fines and heavy sentences. Also, the substance had a negative stigma attached to it that made it socially unacceptable to many. Research has changed the minds of some government officials and lawmakers in many states across the country, especially in Florida. However, it is currently still illegal for many people to possess and own marijuana.

Recreational use is still prohibited

Remember, not all people are banned from using marijuana. There are certain individuals who can access and use the substance without fear of repercussion from law enforcement. However, there are strict requirements in place to limit access to the substance for this group. They must be chronically or terminally ill and suffering from certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy and cancer. Marijuana must be a last-resort treatment for them. Depending on their circumstances, they may only be entitled to use marijuana that has a 10 percent or less cannabinoid content, or varieties with less than 0.8 percent THC content. Also, patients need the approval of two doctors, and they can only purchase the substance in vapor, injection or pill form. There are other criteria in place as well.

An amendment is in the works to allow people who suffer from any of the following conditions to use marijuana for medicinal purposes only:

  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn's disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis

There may be other medical conditions that meet the criteria as well.

Challenges to legalization

Despite partial legalization, many people who meet the criteria to legally use marijuana are not doing so. Getting the approval of two qualified doctors is not easy. Many physicians are not aware that there are programs available to help them to take advantage of the recent changes to the law regarding medical marijuana. Others are not ready to put their reputation on the line to get certified.

For terminally ill candidates, the patient-physician relationship requirement is a huge barrier. Many of them do not have very long to live and may not survive long enough to receive their referrals. To be eligible for a medical marijuana referral, patients must have been under a particular doctor's care for approximately three months (90 days).

Until the government makes marijuana legal for everyone, you should avoid it at all costs. If you end up in a legal situation that involves the use and possession of marijuana, you should consider speaking with an attorney to learn more about your options.

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