Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorneys
Proposed Laws to Expand the Usage of Medical Marijuana in Florida

Proposed Laws to Expand the Usage of Medical Marijuana in Florida

Marijuana. It is a hot topic in the U.S. right now. With states like Colorado, Washington, and California continually creating new laws to allow for more liberties with this drug, it seems inevitable that other states will start to follow suit. While marijuana is still illegal federally, many state laws have been adapted to make certain uses legal.

Currently, marijuana is still illegal in Florida except for limited medical uses. The penalties for being caught in possession of marijuana for an unapproved use can be extreme, especially if you are found with more than 20 grams ($5,000 in fines and 5 years in prison).

Expansion of Marijuana Usage for Terminally Ill

So what proposed laws are on the table for Florida lawmakers? There is a new medical marijuana bill up for approval: Florida House Bill 307. Just last Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz announced his new bill, followed by Sen. Rob Bradley stating that he will be sponsoring a similar bill in the Florida Senate. Approval of the bill would expand the current laws on medical marijuana usage for terminally ill patients.

While this may seem like a very restrictive use, the passing of the bill could open the door for broader medical legalization over the next election year. With polls already showing a majority of voters support making cannabis more available to patients, Florida lawmakers must continue to find solutions that everyone can agree on for this issue.

Potential Constitutional Amendment

In addition to the bill, November 2016 holds the prospect of passing a constitutional amendment that will allow for further expansion of legal marijuana usage. Those that back the initiative to make marijuana more accessible to patients have a long way to go, however. They must still get the approval of the Florida Supreme Court on specific ballot language and get enough petition signatures to bring the issue to voters.

While the bill is not mean to fight the proposed amendment, it may create some obstacles, as lawmakers like to see medical marijuana issues dealt with in the Legislature.

Benefits of New Laws on Medical Marijuana

Last year Colorado pulled in $44 million in taxes from recreational pot sales and $75 million in medical marijuana taxes and fees. While Florida is not jumping right into the legalization of recreational marijuana, the economic benefits and perks of marijuana may eventually play a part in how lawmakers assess the issue. More importantly, Florida residents have been endorsing pro-medical marijuana for numerous years. This is a decision that the people are asking for and lawmakers have to respond at some point.

Even if medical marijuana was fully legalized, that does not mean recreational usage will follow. Many supporters of medical pot are strictly against recreational usage. In other words, the verdict is still out on whether recreational usage is something Floridians wants—the same can’t necessarily be said for medical marijuana legislation, which has been given a majority approval in the USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey.

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Our Victories

  • Not Guilty, Acquitted at Trial Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon

    Outcome: Client was alleged to have used his vehicle to strike victim, and there was video of the incident which could have been interpreted to actually show the crime. The state was offering significant prison time before trial. By meticulous planning and strategic cross-examination to expose the motives and fabrications by the alleged victim, and an eyewitness in support of the alleged victim, Rudenberg & Glasser convinced a jury to acquit the client and avoid a mandatory long prison sentence.

  • Domestic Violence
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser went to trial and were able to show during cross-examination that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that the client acted in self-defense. The jury returned a not guilty verdict almost immediately following trial.
  • Domestic Violence With 911 Call and Pictures
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser took the case to trial after fleshing out inconsistencies in the alleged victim's account. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the client's unblemished record was preserved.
  • False Arrest

    Outcome: Attorney Glasser was able to show with video footage that his client did not commit the alleged offense and furthermore, the police officer who ordered his arrest was negligent in his investigation and improperly supervised.

    Read more about this story on the Sun Sentinel.

  • Probation Only Federal Conspiracy to Commit Mail & Wire Fraud

    Outcome: Through compelling sentencing memorandum and passionate oral argument, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to convince the federal court judge to sentence their client to treatment for substance abuse, and no incarceration, even though the client had a lengthy criminal history and the Government was seeking prison time.

  • Felony DUI: Client was in an Accident and Left the Scene
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser filed a compelling motion to suppress evidence based on law enforcement's actions during the investigation. Rudenberg & Glasser were able to persuade the prosecutor prior to the motion to suppress hearing that the charge should be broken down from a felony to a misdemeanor and the client was offered probation instead of the previously sought prison sentence.
  • Final Injunction Hearing
    Outcome: Client desperately needed to avoid a final injunction on his record. Rudenberg & Glasser defended him at the hearing and proved that the Petitioner was not in fear for her safety. The judge dismissed the injunction.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Resisting Police Officer Without Violence
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg presented evidence that the police officer’s version of events was not credible, and that accusations were made to justify excessive use of force by police officer. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than five minutes.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanors: DUI & Possession of Cannabis
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg won a motion arguing the DUI checkpoint was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the Judge entered an order suppressing all evidence. Case was dropped by the State, and client avoided a mandatory conviction for DUI, as well as mandatory fines and license suspensions.
  • $250,000 Pre-Trial Personal Injury

    Outcome: Client was injured by a malfunctioning door, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on client's knee. There were limited medical bills and no surgeries, but through extremely challenging and successful negotiations, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to secure a settlement of $250,000.

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