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What Happens If I Get Stopped With Medical Marijuana? Answering Common FAQs

In November 2016, Florida legalized medical marijuana with Amendment 2. If you are a qualified patient, it is legal to purchase and use marijuana purchased from a licensed medical marijuana treatment center.

But what if you get stopped with medical marijuana? Do you need to carry your card with you at all times? Can the cops search your car?

You may be confused about your rights. The Law Offices of Salnick Law, P.A. is here to help. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few frequently asked questions about medical marijuana and your rights to use medical cannabis products under Florida law.

Is It Illegal To Use Medical Marijuana In Public?

Yes. You cannot use medical marijuana in any “public place” under Florida law. You also may not use medical marijuana in any “enclosed indoor workspace,” thanks to the Florida Clean Indoor Act. If you use medical marijuana in public, you can be fined.

However, you can smoke or vape medical marijuana on private property as allowed by the property owner. For example, if you own your home, you are fully within your rights to use medical marijuana anywhere on your property.

What If The Medical Marijuana Is Not Mine?

Possessing someone else's prescription – any kind of prescription – is illegal. This is as true of medical marijuana as it is with other types of prescription drugs, such as opioid painkillers. You cannot legally possess someone else’s prescription medication.

If you get stopped with medical marijuana that is not yours, you can be arrested and charged with marijuana possession, and you may also be charged with illegal possession of prescription medication.

For your protection, do not carry or possess medical marijuana that is not yours. You should only possess medical marijuana if you have a valid, fully legitimate prescription. Do not pick up, move, or transport anyone else’s medicine for them.

However, there are exceptions. For example, it’s not illegal to have someone else’s medical marijuana in your vehicle if they are traveling with you and they have a prescription and valid medical card. They can simply show their prescription, card, and other information to the officer.

Do I Need To Show Proof Of Prescription?

Yes. If you are stopped by a police officer and you have medical marijuana on your person or in your vehicle, you will need to show several things to prove that you can legally possess these cannabis products.

  1. You must provide a valid Florida medical marijuana card
  2. Your cannabis products must be in the original prescription packaging, and include the dispensary insert with relevant product information and the recommended dosage
  3. You must have proof that you purchased the cannabis products from a licensed Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinic (MMTC).

If you are in possession of non-prescription marijuana, you cannot provide your medical marijuana card, or you have removed your marijuana products from their original packaging, you could be cited or even arrested for marijuana possession.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested For Marijuana Possession?

If you are a medical marijuana patient and you are arrested for marijuana possession, know your rights. You do not have to speak to the police, you do not have to testify against yourself, and you have the right to an attorney.

And if you are arrested for marijuana possession – whether or not you have a prescription – the first thing you should do is contact a West Palm Beach drug attorney. Working with a lawyer allows you to build the best possible case, avoid incriminating yourself, and ensures the best possible outcome for your case.

Does Having Medical Marijuana Give Police The Right To Search My Car?

In the past, “sniff and search” actions were common by police. Because marijuana is still technically federally illegal, an officer may claim that they have the right to search your car. But this is changing, too. In Palm Beach County, for example, “sniff and search” is no longer a valid reason to search cars, due to the recent legalization of hemp in Florida.

You can legally possess medical marijuana in your car as long as the products are contained in their original packaging – for example, if you are driving home from the dispensary or are bringing your medication with you on a trip within Florida, you’re within your rights.

However, if you are pulled over with medical marijuana in your car, then you do have to provide a valid medical marijuana card to the police to prove that you possess your medicine legally. If you do not do so, this is considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor. You must also have proof that the product was purchased from a Florida-licensed dispensary.

Unfortunately, though, police officers do still have wide discretion to search vehicles. For example, they may claim “probable cause” to search your vehicle if you have a criminal record, if you look nervous and avoid eye contact, if they see drug paraphernalia, or if they suspect you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If your car is searched due to the possession of medical marijuana or the smell of marijuana and the officer arrests you due to finding other items or evidence in your vehicle, your rights may have been violated. Get in touch with a West Palm Beach drug attorney for the assistance you need.

Know Your Rights – Hire Salnick Law, P.A.

If you have been improperly charged with a crime or are facing any kind of drug possession charge in Florida as a medical marijuana patient, get help from a West Palm Beach drug attorney today. At Salnick Law, P.A., we know the law surrounding medical marijuana – and we can defend your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

So don’t wait. Contact us now for a case review, and to get the expert assistance you need if you’re facing a charge for illegal marijuana possession in West Palm Beach or the surrounding area.

Gregory Salnick
Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick Law, P.A.
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