Marijuana’s illegal status
Legal disclaimer: marijuana is illegal in Florida right now. Don’t read this blog post to mean that you can walk down the street and smoke a joint without worry. Getting caught with cannabis (marijuana) will get you inside a courtroom facing jail time and losing your driver’s license, just to start. What I want to talk about is why cannabis is currently illegal and whether that is legally right.
I have recently filed motions to dismiss in several local courtrooms arguing that Florida Statute 893.03(1)(c)(7) is unconstitutional. This is that statute that lists cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. The short version is this: cannabis is currently a Schedule I substance under that statute. A Schedule I substance is one that “has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States…”
Here’s the thing – last year a super-majority of Florida’s citizens voted to pass an amendment to the Florida Constitution legalizing medical marijuana. Our state Constitution now holds that cannabis has recognized medical purposes, which is the complete opposite position taken by the statute that makes cannabis a controlled substance. If the Constitution trumps a statute then that statute should be unconstitutional and stricken. If the statute that makes cannabis a Schedule I substance is stricken, then (at least until the legislature changes the Schedule), someone could not be arrested and convicted for cannabis, or marijuana, because nothing makes it a controlled substance.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that because we have medical marijuana that all marijuana must be legal. That is not the point. The point is really a simple one: so long as the Florida statutes say that there is no medicinal value at all to cannabis, it is contrary to what over 60% of Florida voters said when the medical marijuana constitutional amendment was passed.
We’ll wait and see what happens. But in the meantime, if you are facing marijuana charges of any kind give me a call to discuss your case.