A Side Effect Of Smokable Medical Marijuana

  • May 22 2019

In the debates over legalizing medical marijuana and CBD oil, there is a lot of talk about side effects. While most people are focused on the health-related side effects, at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC we have our eye on the criminal ones since we represent a lot of clients charged with drug crimes.

Changes in the Medical Marijuana Law

This spring, Florida lawmakers passed a new law repealing the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. This is a big deal for people who rely on medical marijuana to manage their illnesses since it opens a new avenue of treatment.

It brings the medical marijuana law closer to what many in the public envisioned it would be when Florida citizens overwhelmingly voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in 2016.

In 2017, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation legalizing access to the drug in pill, oil, edible and vape form, but kept smoking illegal. From the minute that law was signed, it was controversial, so it is little surprise that a new law legalizing smokable medical marijuana has passed now that Scott is out of office. Current Gov. Ron DeSantis was a champion of the change.

A Legal Side Effect

In addition to being important to patients who rely on medical marijuana to treat their symptoms, the new law closes a loophole that allowed law enforcement officials to harass and entrap marijuana users.

Now that smokable medical marijuana is legal, state and local law enforcement officials can no longer use the smell of pot as a pretext for searching you or your vehicle. This is a big deal.

Before the law was changed, the cops could claim they smelled freshly smoked weed, and use that as probable cause for a search and seizure. Now, the police will have to find some other reason to search you or your possessions. So, don’t give it to them.

  • If the police ask you what that smell is, say you don’t smell anything.
  • Don’t keep your medical marijuana or paraphernalia in plain sight when you are traveling. Store it safely away. If you are in a vehicle, put everything in the trunk. If you don’t have a trunk, keep it in a locked container in the glove compartment or the back of the vehicle.  
  • Bring copies of any marijuana-related medical records with you, but don’t whip them out immediately. Consider speaking with an attorney before agreeing to disclose any private medical information.  

It is important to note that federal law enforcement officials are not restricted from using the smell of pot as probable cause to search you or your vehicle. If an FBI agent catches you smoking in the park, they may arrest you.

Protecting Your Rights

Over the next few years, we expect to see a lot of people who are following the law and only trying to treat their medical conditions hassled and harassed by the police because they smell like pot. Law enforcement officials are simply not supportive of changes to marijuana laws.

If you are issued a ticket or are struggling to defend your right to medicate in the manner you see fit, please contact our office. We are here to help.

Posted in: Drug Crimes