Around the country, several states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that has legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. In Florida, however, marijuana may still only be possessed or used legally if such possession or use is part of the state’s medical marijuana program. However, Florida has recently enacted a law that makes it legal to possess and use hemp. This new law is having repercussions across the state when it comes to prosecuting people for crimes involving pot.
According to the Miami Herald, hemp comes from the same plant that marijuana does and the two products look like identical twins. Even when put under a microscope, it is impossible to tell them apart. The difference between hemp and marijuana is that the latter involves a sufficiently high amount of THC, the chemical that contributes to a high when consumed either by inhalation or through oral consumption.
The similarities between hemp and marijuana, now that one is legal, has led the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office to issue new information indicating that it will reduce penalties for offenses involving small amounts of pot. Any person found with a substance containing up to 600 mg of THC or with up to 20 grams of marijuana would previously have been at risk of spending a year in jail as such possession was a first degree misdemeanor. That will no longer be the case.
People found with enough of a substance that could be pot to result in felony charges will have the product tested to confirm it is pot before any criminal prosecution takes place.