Cannabis is one of the most commonly used controlled substances in Florida and throughout the United States. Also more commonly known as pot, weed, or chronic, buds, green, or kind, this drug has been the subject of a growing political debate as several states and jurisdictions have made efforts to either decriminalize or flat-out legalize the substance in recent years.
That being so stated, cannabis remains illegal in the Sunshine State despite so many efforts on behalf of Mr. Coulter, his firm, and many others in the legal community that believe the law is a refection of archaic ideas and desperately needs to be changed. In Brevard County Florida nad throughout the state of Florida, a person faces very serious penalties if he or she possesses, sells, or cultivates marijuana. Regardless of whether the person charged with a cannabis offense is a resident of Brevard County or was simply visiting Melbourne while on vacation, any crime of this nature needs to be taken seriously. The state of Florida has found many creative ways over time to not only find and arrest marijuana users but also to punish those accused in ways that have a profound and lasting collateral effect that is often times unbeknownst to those defendants that represent themselves or in the alternative hire an attorney that is not competent.
If you have been charged with possessing, selling, cultivating, trafficking, or some other sort of cannabis crime in Florida, you should immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. James Coulter is a member of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Legal Committee, is an activist in the the national efforts to legalize both medical and municipal marijuana, and is an experienced advocate for clients who are in the State of Florida, County of Brevard, and are facing criminal cannabis charges.
The Law Offices of James B. Coulter represents clients throughout Melbourne, Rockledge, Mims, Titusville, Satellite Beach, Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa, Merritt Island, Cape Canavarel, Malabar, Barefoot Bay, Indialantic Beach, West Melbourne, and Indian Harbour Beach. as well as residents throughout the state of Florida and or visiting the state of Florida who have been charged with cannabis crimes. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I drug under Florida Statute § 893.03. This means that marijuana is legally considered to be among the most dangerous class of drugs with “a high potential for abuse and 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.”
Some of the most common cannabis charges people face in Palm Bay include:
There have been attempts to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, but the progress has still been relatively minimal. In June 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that legalized the strain of cannabis known as “Charlotte’s Web” for patients with cancer, chronic seizures, Parkinson’s Disease, or a limited number of other debilitating illnesses. The bill legalized strains of marijuana that contained 10 percent or more cannabidiol (CBD) but 0.8 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces a high.
However, patients could only be administered the medicine through pills, oils, or vaporization. The bill prohibited this form of cannabis from being smoked. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health has encountered numerous difficulties implementing the rules for “Charlotte’s Web,” making it unclear when the program would actually begin.
In November 2014, 58 percent of Florida voters supported Amendment 2 (also known as the “Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative”) which would have allowed doctors to prescribe other kinds of cannabis—including the form that is smoked—to treat an even wider range of conditions, but that number fell short of the 60 percent that was required to pass the constitutional amendment.
Despite these obstacles, Melbourne residents, as well as visitors and tourists, should understand that medical marijuana necessity still exists as a defense in certain cases. This means that if you were legally prescribed cannabis in another state for a medical condition, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to demonstrate that your treatment should exempt you from criminal charges.
The classification of a cannabis crime largely depends on the amount of the drug involved. Depending on the specific criminal offense, an alleged offender possibly faces the following consequences:
Brevard County does have a Pretrial Diversion (PTD) program for drug-related charges that can result in deferred prosecution, meaning that an alleged offender can avoid criminal prosecution and a conviction. Residents of the Satellite Beach area, as well as tourists and other visitors, may be eligible for the PTD if approved by a State Attorney.
If you live in Melbourne or were here visiting the Melbourne area and were arrested for any type of cannabis offense, do not assume that the incident was meaningless and will be forgotten because you do not live here. The laws in Florida are still behind most of the nation with regards to their reformation. When it comes to marijuana, in the state of Florida, sentences for crimes involving marijuana are still somewhat draconian. There can be enormous ramifications for people who fail to appear in court on criminal charges—residents or not—including warrants being issued for their arrests. Even if you were in possession of cannabis legally obtained in your home state, you may face criminal charges.
There may be any number of issues that a knowledgeable attorney could discover in your case while representing you in court so you do not have to make repeated return visits to Brevard County for any court appearances.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) at University of Central Florida (UCF) — The Central Florida chapter of this national nonprofit organization at UCF has weekly meetings, information sessions, and special events on and around campus. You can find contact information for the UCF chapter as well as links to volunteer opportunities, legal issues, and news releases on this website.
Florida Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) — The Florida page for this national nonprofit organization contains information about pending legislation, recent news, and policy alerts. There are also links to news releases, the organization’s strategic plan, and upcoming events.
United For Care: People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) — PUFMM was founded by Kim Russell, a woman whose grandmother suffered from glaucoma but refused to break the law even though marijuana offered medical benefits for her condition. This website contains news about the campaign, answers to frequently asked questions, and a fact sheet about medical marijuana.
Were you arrested for any type of cannabis crime in Brevard County? The Law Offices of James B. Coulter has experience handling all sorts of drug cases, and he can thoroughly investigate your arrest to develop the strongest possible defense. James Coulter is not only a criminal defense attorney, but he is a former college adjunct professor or Criminal Law, Evidence, and Constitutional law. James Coulter is also a very involved player in the efforts to reform marijuana laws in the State of Florida.
The Law Offices of James B. Coulter serves residents of the greater Melbourne area and Brevard County, but our firm also helps people who were charged with marijuana crimes while they were on vacation or visiting for other reasons. Call (321) 586-9944 right now to have our firm review your case during a free consultation.