With states around the nation starting to legalize marijuana for recreational consumption, those who wish to do so legally are planning vacations to these states. This sudden rise of “cannabis tourism” as it’s becoming known is creating an industry that’s already worth millions of dollars and provided substantial tax revenue to these states. However, for those in Florida who wish to take one of these vacations, knowing what the law has to say about marijuana is extremely important. Not knowing could wind up getting you in some serious trouble back at home if you aren’t careful.
Legality of Cannabis Vacations
First, the big question: is cannabis tourism legal? The short answer: absolutely. Provided you follow all applicable local laws and restrictions, it’s perfectly within your rights for you to partake of recreational marijuana in another state, even as a resident of Florida. That does mean you may want to brush up on the laws of the state you’re traveling to. For example, many of these states have restrictions saying you can’t consume within a certain distance of a school or childcare facility and others may restrict how much you are allowed to purchase or possess at any given time.
Traveling with Cannabis
However, there’s one thing you need to make sure of: when the time comes to travel home, make sure that your vacation stops at the state line. Transporting marijuana over state lines is a federal offense which could carry heavy penalties, even if you’re going from one state with legal weed to another. Law enforcement and authorities are cracking down on those who carry marijuana from state to state, including keeping a close watch on vehicles passing over the border. These stops usually begin with something as simple as pulling a vehicle over for speeding or another moving violation, and could result in law enforcement conducting a search if they suspect you may be carrying cannabis with you.
However, it’s more likely as a Florida resident that you’ll be traveling by air. Currently, the closest states with legalized recreational marijuana are Colorado and Massachusetts, neither of which is a short road trip to get to. You may be tempted to think that it’s much easier to get your souvenir marijuana back home when flying, but you run the risk of serious trouble there as well. Marijuana is still outlawed at most airports around the country, including those in legal-weed states (for example, it’s still prohibited at Denver International Airport).
Furthermore, security screening areas are actually under federal jurisdiction, which means possession of a controlled substance is forbidden by law and could carry serious consequences. You’ll more than likely be found out if you try to smuggle your stash through security, and you could face prosecution for doing so. Thinking about hiding your stash in your checked luggage? This is also against the law. Your luggage will be scanned, and if the scanner triggers an inspection, your stash could be found and you could find yourself in trouble for it. Also, don’t forget the TSA also inspects checked bags at random on each flight, so there’s a pretty strong chance your bag may not be the most private or secure place to hide your souvenir stash.
However, even if you’re able to sneak marijuana through security, by flying it back to Florida you’re bringing the substance over state lines, which is a federal offense. A conviction for marijuana trafficking could carry a heavy prison sentence as well as large fines.
Florida Marijuana Laws
Florida is also particularly strict in regards to marijuana on its own. Possession of any amount greater than 20 grams is a felony in Florida, which can carry as much as 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000 for the most severe cases. The majority of felony marijuana possession cases will face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a marijuana offense in Florida, the Fort Lauderdale drug crimes attorneys from Hager & Schwartz, P.A. may be able to help! Call us at (954) 840-8713 today to request a consultation and start fighting for your rights.