Attitudes on Marijuana are changing; Will our laws follow suit?

Over the last 10 years, we have seen an increase in the number of states making medical marijuana legal. Just this past year, Florida made the jump to legalize medical marijuana in certain circumstances. We have also seen progressive states go from legalizing medical marijuana to legalizing recreational use of marijuana. While the federal government still classifies marijuana as a banned substance, it seems as if they are not enforcing this law at the state level.

Florida Laws regarding Marijuana

In 2014, the Florida Legislature passed a law that allowed a non-need euphoric strain of medical cannabis low in THC to help the terminally ill patients.   In 2016, they changed the bill to allow terminally ill patients to gain access to full THC level medical marijuana.

Who exactly qualifies for this type of treatment now?   Patients who have cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, or the ambiguous “debilitating medical condition.”

County/City Level

Some counties and cities are following the trend in other states to decriminalize marijuana use. Miami-Dade County was one of the first counties to pass an ordinance that gives the option to police to give someone a ticket (civil infraction) for marijuana rather than charging them with a misdemeanor. Miami Beach passed a similar city ordinance.

While Broward County unanimously approved an ordinance like Miami-Dade County, it is well known that the Office of the State Attorney for Broward County will not enforce that County ordinance.

What about the workplace?

This brings us to a bigger issue: whether or not marijuana is legal, does an employee have a right to use marijuana even off the clock? Most companies outside of the states that have legalized marijuana still find the federal statute applicable, and they drug test employees to determine whether or not they are using illegal drugs.

As we discussed, were seeing a shift in attitude. In this article by the Palm Beach Post, AutoNation will no longer refuse to hire job applicants who test positive for marijuana. Since AutoNation is one of the largest auto dealerships in the country, you could potentially see this as a trend for more employers in the future.

What if marijuana becomes decriminalized or legal in Florida?

Despite the fact that many Floridians are now allowed to use marijuana to treat medical issues, it still does not prevent them from being held accountable for the actions upon their use. Even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana, or you live in an area where it is decriminalized, you still cannot operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

 

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