If your son or daughter has been arrested or issued a notice to appear citation for possession of marijuana in Jacksonville, you probably have a lot of questions. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have represented many teenagers and young adults in juvenile and adult court. In today’s society, marijuana is not considered a big deal. Regardless, it is illegal to possess cannabis in Florida. If you are arrested for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, you have been arrested for a misdemeanor. This will result in a Florida criminal record. Even if you were not arrested, you may still have a criminal record if you were issued a notice to appear citation. A notice to appear citation looks like a Jacksonville traffic ticket, but it is really a criminal notice. If you are caught with 20 grams or more of marijuana, this is a felony. If you are convicted of possession of cannabis, you are also facing a drivers license suspension in Jacksonville.
As you can see, while marijuana use may not seem like a big deal, it is. You may have a high school student that was arrested and is facing charges in Jacksonville juvenile delinquency court. You may have a college student that was cited for possessing a small amount of cannabis. Regardless, your child has a future that he or she needs to think about. While getting caught with marijuana may not seem like much now, it may come back to haunt him or her in the future. Your child is likely going to be filling out college applications and looking for a job. The bottom line is that possessing marijuana is illegal in Florida. Illegal means that you should not be doing it and there are consequences that apply. You need to ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”
With marijuana use becoming more and more popular amount teens and young adults, it is no wonder that they do not think that a criminal marijuana charge is that serious. It’s not the teenager’s fault for thinking this way. It is constantly presented that way. Today, I read an article on Yahoo Health about the rise in marijuana use among college students:
“The percentage of U.S. college students who say they smoke marijuana daily or nearly every day is at its highest in more than three decades, according to a new survey. In 2014, 5.9 percent of college students said they smoked marijuana 20 or more times in the prior month. That’s up from 3.5 percent in 2007, and is the highest rate of near-daily use reported since the survey began, in 1980, the researchers said. In fact, in 2014, near-daily use of marijuana was more common than daily cigarette use for the first time, the researchers found. Just 5.2 percent of college students said they smoked cigarettes every day, down from about 19 percent in 1999. In addition, the percentage of college students who said they used marijuana at least once a month increased from 17 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2014. In addition, the percentage of college students who said they used the drug at least once a year rose from 30 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2014…. A similar rise in marijuana use has also been seen among high school students, said Lloyd Johnston, a research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, who led the study.”
The article reconfirmed what I have been saying for a while. The stigma once associated with marijuana use is disappearing. This may have something to do with its legalization in several states. Some states, such as Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon, have legalized recreational and medical marijuana. Many other states have legalized medical marijuana. Other states have decreased the penalty for possession of marijuana to a civil infraction. See the Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction for a chart of the marijuana laws across the nation. The Yahoo Health article also stated:
“The increase in marijuana use may be tied to a change in how young people view the drug. In 2006, 55 percent of 19- to 22-year-olds said they viewed regular marijuana use as dangerous, but in 2014, just 35 percent said the same, the survey found. Also in recent years, an increasing number of states have legalized the drug, for medical or recreational purposes.”
What college students need to understand is that marijuana is not legal in Florida. You are going to college to better yourself and your future. You want to open doors and opportunities for yourself. A Florida criminal record does not help you achieve your goals. In fact, it does the opposite. While a marijuana charge may not be a big deal to you, it may be something serious to the potential employer reviewing your Florida criminal background. It may be important to the person that is making the hiring decision. Imagine that you are applying for a job and the employer has two identical candidates to choose from. Both have great academic credentials and performed excellently in their interviews, but one has a criminal record and the other does not. Who will the employer choose? There are employers and companies that do not want to hire a person with prior drug use. These are all things that you want to consider when deciding, “Is it worth it?”
If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, you should speak with a Jacksonville criminal attorney about your options. You may also want to inquire about sealing or expunging your Florida criminal record. If you have any questions, feel free to call 20 Miles Law at (904) 564-2525 or send an email to Find a Lawyer.