Florida Hemp Law Changes How to Prosecute Pot Crimes

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1020 into law on June 25, 2019, creating a statewide agricultural hemp program to expand commercial opportunities for hemp and hemp-related products such as CBD.

Yet, prosecutors across the state announced that they will no longer prosecutor low-level marijuana crimes for the time being since the new legislation changed the definition of cannabis.

According to SB 1020, hemp is considered a substance with less than .3 percent THC, which is the ingredient responsible for causing a high. This change in law renders many field tests, crime lab technology, and even narcotics detection K9s useless because none of these avenues can determine the level of THC.

Since hemp and cannabis look and smell the same, such characteristics can make it difficult for police officers to establish probable cause. This means law enforcement must obtain additional evidence, including an admission, evidence of criminal activity, or any signs indicating guilt to establish probable cause.

When it comes to testing equipment, creating such devices and getting state approval could take months or even years. Although law enforcement has the option to send samples to private labs that are out of state, the process is still a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

Possession of at least 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a jail term no longer than one year and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

If you have been arrested for a marijuana crime in Miami, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (305) 330-1360 to discuss your legal options.

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