Possession Of Marijuana, A Big Deal?

With more than 26 states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes many people ask is felony possession of marijuana in Florida a big deal as compared with possession of cocaine or heroin.

While the obvious answer in theory is of course not, in practice and in the courts the answer is yes, it can be a big deal if not handled properly and correctly.

In Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in State prison. Any amount of cocaine less than 28 grams or an amount of heroin less than 4 grams is also a third degree felony and punishable the same as more than 20 grams of marijuana.

Felony possession of marijuana has potentially serious consequences and ramifications if someone without proper legal representation proceeds to trial or enters a guilty plea and ends up with a felony conviction.


This felony conviction may cost someone a job or admission to college and may result in significantly more serious penalties if the person gets arrested sometime in the future.

To avoid these unintended consequences/ramifications one should not assume felony possession of marijuana is not a big deal and obtain legal advice and guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty, going to trial or making any legal decisions.

I have been personally involved in several recent cases where the clients were charged with possession of marijuana and their previous lawyer told the clients to plead guilty because he was able to convince the prosecutor to place them on probation and withhold adjudication of guilt, which would prevent them from having a criminal conviction.

The clients thought this was a good result but they did not know that their lawyer had not conducted any investigation and the police searches, which found the marijuana, were illegal.

Unfortunately, both clients violated their probations and were facing jail and prison time when they hired me to represent them. When I discovered the issues concerning the respective searches, I was able to convince the prosecutor in one case and the judge in the other, to dismiss the probation violations and have the clients’ pleas, sentences and convictions overturned and the original charges dismissed.