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How a Cannabis Vacation Could Mean Problems in Florida

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

November 23, 2018

With several states legalizing consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes, a new industry has sprung up nearly overnight: cannabis tourism. People from around the country are choosing to travel from their home states to those where recreational cannabis is legal in order to partake in both safe and legal consumption. However, there are ways this could present some problems for you back at home. Some people attempt to continue their vacation when they return or bring back some of their bud as a souvenir to enjoy later, and that could get you in trouble with the law here in the Sunshine State.

On this blog, we’ll explain how taking a trip for cannabis consumption could get you in trouble here in Florida, as well as discuss what our laws have to say about marijuana offenses.

Things to Know About Cannabis Tourism

First, the big question: is cannabis tourism legal? The answer is a simple one: yes. You are well within your right to travel to another state and partake in recreational cannabis, even as a resident of Florida. As long as you follow that state’s laws regarding marijuana consumption (most have restrictions on where and some restrict when consumption can take place), then you can take your trip and enjoy to your heart’s content.

However, what gets people in trouble is if they decide they want to extend their trip a little further or bring some of their favorite cannabis back home with them to enjoy later. Transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal offense, even if you’re doing so between two states where possession and recreational consumption is legal. By bringing marijuana over state lines, you’ve committed what’s known as “drug trafficking,” and you could face serious repercussions for doing so.

Traveling With Cannabis

Law enforcement are cracking down on cannabis tourists as well, often keeping close watch on vehicles coming from states where consumption is legal. It’s not uncommon for officers to pull drivers over for traffic violations like speeding and request to search a vehicle if they suspect that someone may be carrying cannabis with them.

However, more Florida residents will probably be traveling via air, as the closest state with legalized recreational marijuana is legal is either Colorado or Massachusetts—not exactly a quick drive. You may be tempted to think you can get away with stashing some extra marijuana buried deep in your suitcase, but just know you run a tremendous risk in doing so. TSA screening stations are under federal jurisdiction, and since possession of marijuana is a federal offense, you could find yourself in pretty murky legal waters by doing so.

For example, in California, another popular cannabis vacation destination, you are permitted to bring up to the state’s legal maximum of cannabis (28.5 grams) into certain airports, such as Los Angeles International, without being detained by police. However, you likely won’t be permitted to bring it onto the plane because you’ll be committing an offense in doing so. In Colorado, it’s illegal to bring marijuana into the Denver International Airport. Furthermore, if you do manage to bring marijuana through security and baggage screenings, you’ll be committing a federal offense by bringing it into Florida.

Florida Marijuana Laws

While Florida has legalized a limited amount of cannabis for medicinal purposes, possession for recreational purposes is heavily prosecuted. Having any amount greater than 20 grams is a felony that could carry fines of up to $200,000 and incarceration of up to 30 years. In addition, a conviction automatically results in a one-year driver’s license suspension, even for simple misdemeanor offenses.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a marijuana offense in the state of Florida, don’t leave your freedom up to chance. Call a Miami criminal defense attorney from Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (305) 330-1360 and let us help you fight back!