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Florida criminal law: major St. Augustine marijuana cultivation bust

As common as marijuana has become in our society and despite the beginning of a national trend to decriminalize some uses, modern Florida criminal laws treat marijuana possession harshly.
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    March 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Florida criminal law: major St. Augustine marijuana cultivation bust

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The state of Florida has very tough drug laws with steep penalties and is not a good place to be arrested for narcotic-related criminal charges. As common as marijuana has become in our society and despite the beginning of a national trend to decriminalize some uses, modern Florida criminal laws treat marijuana possession harshly.

On January 31, 2013, law enforcement arrested a middle-aged St. Augustine man at his home and charged him with cultivation of cannabis. The officers had procured a search warrant of the property after an anonymous tip and found an "elaborate marijuana growing operation" in two buildings. A St. Johns County Sheriff's Office news release said that 157 plants with a street value over $157,000 and a stolen shotgun were seized in the bust. More charges may be forthcoming.

Florida criminal law defines "cultivation" of a controlled substance like marijuana as a type of drug manufacturing. Equipment and materials used in growing marijuana are defined under the criminal law as illegal "drug paraphernalia."

Florida does not take marijuana lightly

Florida law classifies cannabis, the plant from which marijuana comes, as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most serious category. Schedule I drugs have "high potential for abuse " and as such under Florida law marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards." Further, cultivation of any number of plants will constitute a felony in Florida. A larger amount may qualify as trafficking and justify a minimum mandatory prison term.

Some other states apparently disagree with Florida's punitive position, a handful having legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. And of course, Washington and Colorado just decriminalized the private, adult possession of very small amounts of pot.

The definitions and penalties for marijuana and other drug crimes in Florida are extremely complex and vary depending on the drug, amount, location and other details of the individual circumstance.

Particular activities in connection with marijuana and other controlled substances are criminal acts in Florida like:
-Possessing with intention to sell, manufacture or deliver
-Selling, manufacturing or delivering
-Driving under the influence of drugs


Penalties may include:
-Community service
-Prison time
-Driver's license revocation
-Court costs
-And more

Florida sanctions can increase in severity in certain situations like the association of a drug violation with the severe injury or death of a law enforcement officer or similar person; the commission of certain drug crimes in close proximity to a sensitive location like a church, school, child care center, park or community center; or the defendant's previous criminal record.

Activities in Florida that may constitute drug crimes under state law may also violate federal narcotics laws.

Legal defense counsel crucial

Anyone in Florida under investigation for or accused of a crime involving marijuana or another illegal substance should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible in the process for assistance in protecting the defendant's legal rights and building a strong defense. The stakes are too high to fight the state of Florida with inexperienced counsel.

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