Former State Prosecutor
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When people think about marijuana, they think about smoking the green leafy substance. Other than smoking it, there are many other ways to consume marijuana. Under Florida law, some forms of marijuana concentrate can be charged as a felony offense regardless of the amount.
As medical marijuana is being legalized in more states, other forms of marijuana are becoming more prevalent. For example, butane hash oil (BHO) or “honey oil” has gained popularity. Honey oil is the result of extracting THC from a marijuana plant. Honey oil is a golden-colored substance that may come in the form of wax, oil, “budder,” or “shatter.”
Honey oil has THC levels of approximately forty to eighty percent as opposed to regular marijuana plants that contain about twenty percent THC. New forms of marijuana have created new ways of consumption and hash oil has been a major component of consumption change. Hash oil has been used as a rub for aches and pains, ingredients for food (usually baked goods), and in vape pens and E-cigarettes.
With the emergence of hash oil in mainstream usage, lawmakers are finding regulation increasingly difficult. In many states, including Florida, being caught with honey oil and other concentrates has even harsher consequences than being caught with the green leafy forms of marijuana.
The process of extracting THC from marijuana can be dangerous. Local newspapers have reported incidents of explosions in Florida during the BHO manufacturing process. A manufacturing accident could cause increased sentence in a criminal prosecution. Considering that Florida recently began the process to legalize medical marijuana, it is important to understand your rights as these new regulations begin to take effect.
Call the attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your marijuana or hashish case. With offices conveniently located in downtown St. Petersburg, the firm represents clients throughout St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas of Clearwater, Belleair, Gulfport, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Largo, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs, and Treasure Island.
Melinda Morris and Seth Shapiro of the Morris Law Firm also represent clients on drug charges throughout Pinellas County and the surrounding counties of Pasco County, Hillsborough County and Manatee County, FL.
Over the years, marijuana has gone by many different names. At this point in time, seven (7) states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Seventeen (17) states have decriminalized marijuana, and twenty-eight (28) states, including D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. With marijuana being legalized all across the country and with new uses emerging, even more names are popping up.
Some states that have legalized marijuana have also legalized butane hash oil. Those states, however, have not legalized BHO manufacturing. In states where honey oil is legal, lawmakers have found that unlicensed and unregulated individuals are making BHO in their homes and causing serious property damage and harm to others.
Refined Butane, the substance used to make BHO, is odorless and fairly easy to get. Lawmakers in states like California have already pushed for stricter regulation on purchasing refined butane across the country to prevent illegal manufacturing.
In states like Michigan, which have also legalized medical marijuana, licensed caregivers see the effects of BHO manufacturing on their insurance as well. In Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. McDermott, a caregiver who was manufacturing BHO in his home, was held liable for a resulting fire under his homeowner's insurance policy.
The District Court held that the fire was not an accident, and McDermott could not recover because of his actions –namely BHO manufacturing—increased the risk of a fire. McDermott was required to repay $139,841 to Nationwide Insurance.
While a small amount of marijuana may be exempt from being defined as a Schedule I substance, other concentrated forms of marijuana are not.
A Schedule I substance describes a drug that has not been approved for medical use and has a high risk of abuse. The classification of marijuana concentrates as a Schedule I substance causes an interesting variation in the criminal penalties associated with possessing a small amount of marijuana and possessing hash oil. The penalties for marijuana possession are as follows:
A person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor if they possess twenty (20) grams or less of marijuana. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one (1) year in prison and up to $1,000 fines.
A person is guilty of a third-degree felony if they possess more than twenty (20) grams and less than twenty-five (25) pounds of marijuana or any amount of hash or concentrate.
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Florida Medical Marijuana Policy -Visit the Marijuana Policy Project an overview of Florida's Laws on Low-THC use for terminal and select illness. The law allows certain patients to use “low-THC cannabis,” which is defined as containing “0.8 percent or less of THC and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol.”
Marijuana for Terminal Illnesses –Visit the United For Care website for some very interesting facts about the benefits of medical marijuana and how it is treating terminal illnesses.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Information – Visit the Florida marijuana website for more information about dispensaries in Florida and in other places across the United States.
Regulations on medical marijuana in Florida are fast approaching. If you were charged with marijuana or concentrated marijuana possession, then talk to an attorney, who has experience in fighting different types of drug charges.
Call an experienced attorney for the defense of drug crimes at Morris Law Firm, P.A..
Melinda Morris represents clients charged with serious drug crimes in St. Petersburg, and the surrounding counties. Her firm also represents clients throughout Clearwater, Kenneth City, Treasure Island, Belleair, Gulfport, Indian Shores, Largo, Pinellas Park, and Tarpon Springs.
The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. also represent clients charged with the possession, use, manufacture or delivery of marijuana and concentrated forms of marijuana throughout Pinellas County and the surrounding counties of Manatee County, Pasco County, and Hillsborough County, Florida.
This article was last updated on Friday, January 27, 2016.
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