Boynton Beach Marijuana Update

The Boynton Beach City Commission voted on Tuesday to go forward with the October 21, 2014 hearing to discuss a possible moratorium on businesses in the city from producing or distributing medical marijuana.

The vote was apparently unanimous. After the October 21, 2014 hearing, the Boynton Beach City Commission will have to vote twice on a temporary ban of the businesses in the city from producing or distributing medical marijuana in order for the ban to become official.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

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Marijuana Ban in Boynton Beach?

The Boynton Beach City Commission is to vote Tuesday night on whether or not they should have a medical marijuana hearing on October 21, 2014. If the commission votes in favor of the hearing, Boynton Beach citizens would be able to discuss whether or not the city should ban businesses in the city from producing or distributing medical marijuana. A potential ban could last up to 1 year.

The ban would depend upon whether Amendment 2 to the November Ballot is passed. Presently, as of January 1, 2015, authorized Florida doctors may begin writing prescriptions for authorized strains of marijuana. However, the passage of Amendment 2 would allow for much broader medical use of marijuana. Amendment 2 proposes legalizing marijuana for a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions a doctor believes it likely that the benefit of the medical use of marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks. Additionally, the proposed amendment would allow for smoking marijuana, instead of solely permitting the ingestion of a cannabis oil. Thus, the concern in Boynton Beach is of the unforeseen impact that the opening of medical marijuana stores would have on the city.

It is important to note that Florida marijuana laws still do not authorize the private/recreational use or growing of marijuana. Possession of Marijuana (without a prescription) is prosecuted as a violation of Florida Statute 893.13; possession of under 20 grams of marijuana constitutes a misdemeanor in the state of Florida, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail, possession of 25 pounds of marijuana, or 300 or more marijuana plants constitutes a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison.

Drug charges are serious and are heavily prosecuted in the State of Florida. Anyone facing marijuana charges in Palm Beach County should contact a knowledgeable Palm Beach Criminal Defense attorney.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

News Reporter Quits On-Air over Marijuana Reform in Alaska

On Sunday night, an Alaskan TV reporter made headline news when she quit live on air.

KTVA-TV reporter, Charlo Greene, announced on air Sunday, “. . . I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing cannabis in Alaska. And as for this job, well not that I have a choice but… f*** it, I quit.”

Later, Ms. Greene released a video, found here, explaining her reasons for quitting and her role as CEO of the Alaska Cannabis Club. On November 4, 2014, one of the issues before Alaskan voters will be Ballot Measure 2, the initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska.

Meanwhile, Florida, voters will be faced with Amendment 2 on the November ballot, would allow for much broader medical use of marijuana. Presently, the new Florida Marijuana law called the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act,” or “Charlotte’s Web,” legalizes medical prescribed cannabis oil for very limited and severe medical issues.

Recreational possession and use of marijuana is still illegal in the State of Florida. Possession of marijuana, regardless of the form, in an amount of 20 grams or less can be charged as misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in county jail, fines, and a one year driver’s license suspension. Possession of drug paraphernalia (including, but not limited to: grinders, scales, and pipes) is also still a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

Drug War Statistics

With Florida’s new legislation legalizing specific forms of medical marijuana (a further description can be found here and here), the War on Drugs in the US has been a popular topic of discussion.

In 2012 alone, 749,825 people were charged with marijuana charges, and of those, approximately 88 percent of the charges (658,231 people) were simple possession arrests. More Drug War Statistics can be found here: Drug War Statistics.

If marijuana is further legalized in Florida by way of the broader spectrum medical use as placed on the November 2014 election ballot, it will be interesting to see the effect it will have on the Florida criminal justice system. Drug charges are heavily prosecuted in the State of Florida, including Palm Beach County, and often, prosecutors are able to add additional charges, such as weapons charges, after a search based on marijuana reveals evidence of additional crimes. Florida police officers often make arrests that stem from the odor of marijuana. For example, a simple traffic stop for speeding could turn into a vehicle search based upon the odor of marijuana and result in criminal charges. A simple knock and talk could turn into a full house search if the police arrive, smell the odor of marijuana, and obtain a warrant. If Florida ultimately legalizes marijuana, it may be much more difficult for police officers to make arrests and search suspects based on the odor of marijuana alone.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

Florida Drug Schedules

Florida Statute 893.03 categorizes controlled substances into different schedules: Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V. 

Pursuant to the statute, the drug schedules are as follows:

Schedule I: Schedule I drugs are controlled substances with a high potential for abuse and/or addiction and no legally accepted medical use. Substances in Schedule I include, but are not limited to: heroin, ecstasy, cannabis, mescaline, LSD, and peyote.

Schedule II: Schedule II drugs are controlled substances that also have a high potential for abuse/addiction but have severely restricted medical use. Substances in Schedule II include, but are not limited to: cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, methadone, methamphetamine, morphine, opium, and oxycodone.

Schedule III: Schedule III drugs are controlled substances that have less potential for abuse and addition, and have accepted medical use. Substances in Schedule III include, but are not limited to: vicodin, ketamine, anabolic steroids including testosterone (but not including estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids), and medicines with less than 1.8 grams of codeine per 100 milliliters, or with less than 300 milligrams of hydrocodone per 100 milliliters, or less than 50 milligrams of morphine per 100 milliliters.

Schedule IV: Schedule IV drugs are controlled substances with low potential for abuse or addiction but are mildly addictive when abused, and that have accepted medical use. Substances in Schedule IV include, but are not limited to: alprazolam (xanax), diazepam, and muscle relaxants.

Schedule V: Schedule V drugs are controlled substances with low potential for abuse and with accepted medical use. Substances in Schedule V include, but are not limited to: low amounts of codeine and stimulants.  

A complete listing of the substances in each schedule can be found in Florida Statute 893.03. Additionally, the potential penalties for unlawful possession of the various drugs can be found in Florida Statute 893.13. 

Anyone who is facing drug charges in Palm Beach County should contact a criminal defense attorney, as the penalties can be severe, depending on the amount and type of controlled substance allegedly possessed.

 

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.