Possession of Cannabis Concentrates in Florida

Cannabis concentrates are extracted from cannabis and contain a highly potent level of THC and come in many forms, such as cannabis wax, cannabis resin, cannabis oil, hashish oil, cannabis budder, and cannabis crumble.

It is a felony in Florida to possess any amount of a cannabis concentrate, even if the total weight of the cannabis concentrate is less than twenty (20) grams.

Penalties for Possession of Cannabis Concentrates

The crime of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates is classified as a Third Degree Felony and assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates in Florida, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Driver's License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates will have their drivers license or driving privilege revoked for one year by the Florida DHSMV.

Defenses to Cannabis Concentrates Possession

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific and common defenses to the crime of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates are:

Constructive Possession

If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements before you can be convicted of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the cannabis concentrates' presence;
  2. Dominion and control over the cannabis concentrate.

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Possession of Cannabis Concentrates.

Scenario 1: You were stopped while driving a friend's car and police found cannabis in the glove box, they would be unable to convict you of Possession of Marijuana unless they had some proof that you knew the cannabis was present.
Scenario 2: You were driving your car, had a friend with you, and your friend takes his personal stash of cannabis concentrate and places it at his feet. The police then stop you, see your friend's stash, and arrest both of you. They should be unable to convict you of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates because even though you knew the marijuana was there, your friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates if you can prove that you did not know the substance in your possession was a cannabis concentrate. Importantly, this defense requires you to testify to your lack of knowledge of the substance's illegal nature. [2]

Medical Necessity

The defense of medical necessity can be used when a person suffers from a physical illness or ailment for which there was no lawful medication available to properly treat the illness or ailment and cannabis was the only substance that could relieve the pain or suffering of the person. [3]

Overdose Defense

A person who is experiencing a drug-related overdose that needs medical assistance, or a person assisting the person that needs medical assistance, is immune from prosecution for Possession of Cannabis Concentrates if it can be shown the evidence was obtained as a result of the overdose and need for medical assistance. [4]

Prescription Defense

It is a defense to the crime of Possession of Cannabis Conentrates if the cannabis concentrate was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice. [5]

Temporary Possession

The defense of temporary possession can be raised where a person takes momentary, temporary, or transitory possession of a cannabis concentrate from the true owner. Under such circumstances, the person is not considered to be in legal possession of the cannabis concentrate because the person never exercised complete dominion and control over the cannabis concentrate. [6]

Examples of temporary possession are when a person is handed a cannabis concentrate by the true owner and asked to hide it during a police encounter, such as a traffic stop; or when holding a cannabis concentrate in the presence of a drug dealer for the sole purpose of verifying or testing the cannabis concentrate prior to purchasing it; or when passing the cannabis concentrate from the owner to a third person.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged or arrested with the crime of Possession of Cannabis Concentrates in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. GG v. State, 84 So. 3d 1162 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012)
  2. Florida Statute 893.101
  3. Jenks v. State, 582 So. 2d 676 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991)
  4. Florida Statute 893.21
  5. Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a)
  6. Campbell v. State, 577 So. 2d 932 (Fla. 1991)