Felony vs. Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana or Cannabis in Okaloosa County

In Florida, and specifically Okaloosa County & Walton County, we see various types of charges relating to marijuana possession. Clearly, the most common charges are Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. These are both first degree misdemeanors and are commonly charged together. The potential penalties are: one year in jail, per count, and potentially the loss of your driver’s license for one year.

However, on the felony side, there are quite a variety of charges. Of course there is Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams, which equates to about 0.7 ounces. And while other states may use one ounce (1 oz.) or 28 grams (which approximately weighs 1 oz.) as a weight measurement to qualify for a felony offense, Florida is much more strict and considers anything over 20 grams as a felony amount.

Additionally, even if you possess an amount of marijuana under 20 grams, depending on the circumstances of your arrest and especially the packaging of the marijuana itself, you could still be charged with a felony for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. Even if the actual intent of the defendant was for personal consumption, many times law officers will still charge it as a felony. And please note that these are all third degree felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

While in some states, it may be legal to possess certain amounts of marijuana, the same situation in Florida could result in a felony conviction. And in Florida, every part of the plant counts towards the total weight. This includes roots, seeds, stems, buds, leaves, etc.

Marijuana trafficking is obviously a felony in Florida. Now it is rare to see a major bust for 25 pounds or more of packaged marijuana, but more often it is charged when a house is searched and several plants are found. Police then weigh the plants and add up the total weight, which can be significant.

This charge qualifies for a 3 year prison term as a minimum mandatory sentence along with a $25,000 fine. And if the amount is more than 2000 pounds, it would qualify for a 7 year minimum mandatory and a $50,000 fine.

If you’ve been charged with, or arrested, for possession of marijuana in Okaloosa County, give me a call at (850) 362-6655.