There’s a new/old concept coming into play since the passage of the Hemp bill in Florida. The concept is called SMELL PLUS. In short what it means is to articulate a search of the vehicle is no longer enough to have just the order of marijuana emanating from the vehicle to justify the search. You need the smell of marijuana along with something else to justify the further detention in search of the vehicle. That something else has to show there is some evidence of criminal wrongdoing. A quick example of a plus is the smell of marijuana + paraphernalia in plain view when someone does not have a medical marijuana card. There can be many forms of plus.
Under Fla. State. Sec 581.217, hemp is defined as the plant cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, assets, salts, that does not exceed .3 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration.
Under Fla. Stat. sec. 381.986 medical marijuana legal in the State of Florida. Further, under the statute, the only difference in legal medical marijuana and illegal marijuana is the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Medically legal marijuana is defined under Fla. Stat. sec. 381.986 (1)(e) and (f) as:
(e) “Low-THC cannabis” means a plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried
flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more
than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight; the seeds thereof; the resin
extracted from any part of such plant; or any compound, manufacture, salt,
derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds or resin that is
dispensed only from a dispensing organization.
(f) “Medical cannabis” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis,
whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the
plant; and every compound, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture, or preparation
of the plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing
organization for medical use by an eligible patient as defined in s. 499.0295.
Medical marijuana can only be distinguished from other marijuana testing the potency. Likewise the determination of hemp versus marijuana containing more than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol can only be done through testing.
What’s Happening Now
The state attorney’s office and Broward and Martin Counties have put forth memos on why they will not prosecute unless there is the smell plus evidence of wrongdoing. Most South Florida jurisdictions are following suit.
What I anticipate seeing in the future are less cases filed and pending cases result a lot quicker.