Florida lawmakers legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-related
products such as CBD on July 1, 2019.
However, the new legislation inadvertently created an issue for state prosecutors,
forcing them to dismiss pending low-level marijuana crimes and not taking
any new cases for the time being.
Since hemp and cannabis come from the same plant, the Florida hemp law
defines hemp as a substance that contains less than 0.3 percent THC, which
is the psychoactive ingredient responsible for causing a high. This means
the courts must prove that a substance has more than 0.3 percent THC to
convict someone of marijuana possession.
Since state crime labs do not possess the technology to determine a plant’s
THC level, they cannot provide scientific evidence for prosecutors to
use in court. Although prosecutors can send evidence to private labs for
testing, which can be extremely costly and take months to obtain results.
So, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars or experience long delays, prosecutors
throughout the state have dropped low-level marijuana cases or stopped
bringing new ones altogether. Even when a test is made, its effectiveness
must be proven in court, which can also be a costly and lengthy process.
For now, law enforcement authorities are told to use an “odor-plus”
standard that is based on the smell of cannabis in addition to the officers’
observations prior to a search. Still, hemp and cannabis both smell and
look the same, which can be difficult for officers to distinguish.
Currently, possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor,
which carries a jail term of up to one year and a fine no more than $1,000.
If you have been arrested for
marijuana possession in Daytona Beach,contact the Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today and request a free case evaluation.