As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have represented people that were arrested for cultivating marijuana. Possession of marijuana in Jacksonville may be a felony or misdemeanor crime, depending on how much cannabis police find. Growing marijuana or selling it is a felony. This could change if medical marijuana becomes legal in Florida. Schools and businesses are starting to prepare for this possibility. First Coast News reported:
“Schools are popping up in Florida to teach the ABCs of P-O-T, while new medical marijuana-related businesses are proliferating as the state approaches the Nov. 4 vote on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use…. Hundreds of eager students are paying tuition, ranging from about $300 to $500, to learn basics of growing and dispensing medical pot from schools such as Medical Marijuana Tampa, Cannabis University of Florida in Jacksonville and seminars such as the traveling Cannabis Career Institute. Businesses listed on the Florida Division of Corporations with names starting with ‘marijuana,’ ‘medical marijuana,’ or ‘cannabis’ numbered nearly 100 as of May 23.”
People are creating businesses, because they have recognized that this may be a good opportunity to tap into a new market that was never available due to Florida’s drug laws. “There is a population suffering from illnesses waiting to be helped and [there is the] opportunity to make money helping them. An updated state Department of Health ‘Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions’ analysis from November says the potential number of qualified patients could be up to 417,252, with about 1,800 dispensaries needed.”
Most of the medical marijuana businesses that are being created “are just placeholders, since marijuana is illegal in Florida, medical or otherwise.” People are buying property with the hopes that they will be able to grow or dispense marijuana, “but you can neither grow nor dispense it, unless Amendment 2 passes.” A retired federal investigator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mike Ginocchi, started a business named MjMoneyMan.com. His business “will connect real estate agents, buyers and sellers interested in purchasing property for a medical marijuana business.” Ginocchi stated, “This is a billion-dollar industry. It’s above-board now. Underground has come above ground to create jobs, real revenue, taxes.” Henry Grum Jr., who runs a construction and renovation company in North Naples, filed for a corporation called Medical Marijuana Wellness Center LLC, nearly seven weeks ago. “I’m just trying to get things set up if it does pass,” he said. The business would be a dispensary and “provide medical marijuana services to patients with a qualifying prescription from a medical doctor,” according to an online directory called Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.
People are banking on medicinal marijuana becoming legal due to the overwhelming support in the polls for Amendment 2. “Polls show percentage of Florida voters in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes ranges from 60 to 88 percent. A News-Press online poll with more than 1,300 respondents showed 96 percent were in favor.” Some are skeptical about these numbers and “warn an apparently high favorability rate doesn’t mean the amendment will skate to passage in November. Voters must show up at the polls, and 60 percent must vote yes.” There are also groups pushing people to oppose the legalization of medical marijuana. “Opponents such as the Vote No on 2 coalition, made up of law enforcement, businessmen, attorneys, doctors and parents, launched a campaign May 15 to defeat the amendment. The Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Medical Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce are against the measure.”
Regardless of your views about marijuana, it is still illegal to possess, grow, or distribute cannabis in Florida. If you are caught with marijuana, you may be arrested or issued a notice to appear ticket in Jacksonville. Call a Jacksonville criminal attorney at (904) 564-2525 for help with drug charges in Duval, St. Johns, Nassau or Clay County.