T. charles Shafer Attorney At Law PLLC.

How Have The Drug Laws Evolved Over The Years In Florida?


They seem to become more draconian. Instead of treating drugs as a health problem, we tend to just treat it as a criminal justice problem and that is why we have jails and prisons overflowing with people that really should not be there, in my opinion.

What Are The Most Common Drug Charges In Florida?

Typically, the possession charges of marijuana and cocaine, over the last eight to ten years has been graded updraft and the possession of oxycodone, hydrocodone and that type of thing. But, possession charges have the large part of the drug cases.

Is There A Certain Demographic When It Comes To Drug Charges In Florida?

Youngsters usually constitute a greater representation of the clients I serve. Generally clients are from teenagers to their late thirties. But the one that comes to mind is this story. I had a nurse who was charged with cultivating marijuana, she had it in her closet and she was in her fifties. It depends on what the need is. In her particular case, she said I do not want to get a DUI, she smoked marijuana instead of drinking alcohol, but different people have different reasons for ingesting illegal substances.

How Are Drug Charges Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony In Florida?

For possession charges in Florida, if you possess less than 20 grams of marijuana, it is a misdemeanor; or if you deliver less than 20 grams to another without consideration, like if I want to go give half of this bag to my buddy Bill down the street, then you will be charged with delivery of marijuana to your buddy, but if he did take $50 from that, that I just gave it to him. That would not remain in a misdemeanor court.

We are talking about drug charges in terms of the actual drug itself. There are paraphernalia charges, they are also mostly misdemeanor, but everything else is a possession of cocaine, opioid, that all starts at the felony level. You can dispense a controlled substance and get in trouble if you do not keep necessary records or allow individuals to inspect your premises and those types of things. There is a whole section in the Florida statute regarding misdemeanor criminal law offenses with folks that control substance without following the rules.

What Are The Different Schedules Of Controlled Substances Under Florida Law?

A controlled substance is something that is by its own definition, controlled. It is a drug that is a chemical mixture and there are five different schedules found in section 893 of Florida statute and they pretty much mimic US code, the federal code when they classify their controlled substances. The federal scheme also has schedules and categories and a regulatory scheme and if it falls into a category that the federal government has regulated, you can be sure that Florida has also regulated it. Florida has five different levels or categories. You have the first level, the first category is identified by definition as having no accept in medical use in United States with a high potential for abuse.

Ironically, I am going to digress for a minute, they have cannabis as a Category 1 scheduled drug which they are trying to claim and the federal government has done this as well, that Cannabis has no medicinal value and we know that that is absolutely preposterous. There are any number of states that have legalized marijuana largely and even more, they have legalized that in terms of medical usage. Researchers have found out less than seventy different illnesses including chemotherapy, lacuna, chronic pain, you name it, whose symptoms are alleviated by the usage of marijuana, so the claim that it is a Schedule 1 drug with no medicinal benefit is absolutely ludicrous. That is category one.

Most of people do not know this, but there was a lawsuit against the federal government in the late seventies and as part of that lawsuit, the federal government actually grows and harvests marijuana to send you what used to be thirty-four medical patients in the United States and last I heard they were down to four that were still alive that receive medical marijuana for their ailment from the United States. They do not want to tell you that. Category 2 is identified as having a high intent for abuse. They have a medical usage, but it is severely limited and by definition, the use of the substance may lead to a severe psychological and physical dependence. Examples in that category are Opium, Oxycodone, and cocaine.

Then there is Level 3 and these are all decreasing. Level 3 has a potential for abuse, but it is less than the first two schedules. It has an accepted medical use currently for treatment in United States and it may lead to some low level, physical dependence or psychological dependence and it could lead to physical damage and could be physical damaging too. Anabolic steroids falls in that category. The next category which is Category 4 has a low potential for abuse relative to the other three and it may also lead to some abuse with limited physical and psychological dependence. Two that are well known in that category are Apresoline which most folks commonly know as Xanax, Lorazepam which is also that type of drug.

Level 5 or category 5 has low potential for abuse, currently accepted medical use for treatment. But it may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. One of the more commonly known drugs in that category is Codeine. So you have five categories, those are all substances and the salt, the ice and almost everything that is relative to those chemical compounds is also controlled and regulated. So those are the controlled substances. There are medicinal drugs or prescriptions, but they would be dealt with under a different section.

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