In previous posts, we’ve discussed how it’s extremely important for Florida residents not to underestimate the severity of certain marijuana-related charges. In particular, we’ve discussed this in the context of possession for personal use, one of the more commonly charged drug crimes here in the Sunshine State.
It’s important to understand, however, that this warning applies not just to simple possession, but all other marijuana-related offenses. Indeed, those charged with manufacture and sale of this Schedule I controlled substance should expect much more than just a slap on the wrist.
To illustrate, those arrested for manufacturing (i.e., growing), selling or possessing marijuana with the intent to do either will be charged with a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum of five years behind bars.
As sobering as this may seem, consider that when the exact same crime is committed within 1,000 feet of what is classified as a drug free area– schools, places of worship, assisted living facilities, public housing, public recreation areas, etc. — the charges increase to a second-degree felony, meaning a maximum of 15 years in prison.
As a further illustration, consider that while the crime of delivering up to 20 grams of marijuana, meaning giving it away, is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, the crime of an adult selling marijuana to a minor is a second-degree felony. Furthermore, once the sentence for this latter crime is handed down, it cannot be reduced, suspended or otherwise lessened in severity.
What all of this serves to underscore — yet again — is that marijuana charges at all levels cannot be discounted. Indeed, prosecutors in our state do not harbor progressive attitudes toward marijuana and will often pursue the maximum punishment. In light of this reality, it’s imperative to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible after being placed under arrest for a pot-related offense.