Marijuana is becoming more and more commonplace in the United States, but possession without a prescription can still get you arrested. Under Florida Statute 893.13, Possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis is classified as a 1st degree misdemeanor. Possession is defined in two ways: Actual and Constructive.

  • Actual Possession: the cannabis is on the person of the accused.
  • Constructive Possession: the cannabis is not physically on the person, but is in a place where the defendant has control over it/has concealed it.

Proving Guilt for Marijuana Possession

defense attorney marijuana possessionProving the possession of cannabis in amounts less than 20 grams requires that:

  • The defendant possessed the cannabis (actual or constructive);
  • The amount of cannabis was under 20 grams; and
  • The defendant had knowledge of the cannabis’ presence.


Just after purchasing 15 grams of marijuana from someone, Rick gets pulled over for speeding. Upon approaching the car, the police officer notices the smell of cannabis coming from the car. The police officer searches the car and finds a bag of marijuana. After determining that the contents of the bag are less than 20 grams, Rick is charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams.

Maximum Penalty for Marijuana Possession

Possession of less than 20 grams is classified as a 1st degree misdemeanor, and will include penalties of up to one year in jail or on probation, along with a $1,000 fine. Conviction of possession also results in a 6 month driver’s license suspension, random drug testing, and all the fees incurred to carry out the terms of the sentence.

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney