Federal law prohibits the cultivation of marijuana plants, no matter if the cultivation is for illegal recreation or for the purposes of growing medical marijuana. However, in Florida, state licenses are being issued to allow medical pot growers to cultivate marijuana for consumption by people who qualify to benefit from the drug in a medical capacity.
It's important for everyone to remember that just because the state allows the cultivation of medical marijuana by licensed organizations, it does not mean that people can grow the drug on their own for either medical or recreational purposes. It's also important to note that marijuana possession and cultivation continues to be a high-level drug offense under federal law. As such, even if you're engaged in cultivation activities -- or possess the drug legally -- by way of Florida law, it does not mean that federal police don't have the authority to arrest you. While this is unlikely given the current legal climate for medical pot in the state, it could presumably happen.
The federal penalties for growing marijuana are particularly severe. Convicted parties could spend up to five years in federal prison for growing under 50 marijuana plants. Meanwhile, a lifetime prison sentence could result from someone growing 1,000-plus marijuana plants. At this time, it remains unclear whether federal authorities could decide to enforce federal law in states that have moved forward with the legalization of the drug.
Are you facing marijuana-related charges -- either for cultivation, simple possession or dealing -- in Florida? It's time to get serious about your study of Florida drug laws. You may be able to defend yourself against your charges, but your defense will require a well-planned and cautioned approach.
Source: Findlaw, "Drug manufacturing and cultivation," accessed Jan. 19, 2018