Miami Weed Laws – What You Need to Know

Smoking Marijuana In Miami

Florida marijuana laws are conservative. While medical marijuana is legal, recreational marijuana is not.  Whether you’re a resident or visitor, knowing Florida’s weed laws is important. Also, there are some essential distinctions in how law enforcement handles marijuana enforcement in Miami-Dade County.

The Bernstein & Maryanoff personal injury lawyers explain Florida and Miami weed laws.

Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Marijuana is illegal in Florida except for medical purposes. Florida statute § 893.13¹ criminalizes the possession and sale of cannabis. A simple possession charge is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail. Penalties increase incrementally with larger amounts in possession.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014² allowed low-THC cannabis for medical use and authorized the Department of Health to establish the Office of Compassionate Use. Individuals can purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary if they have the proper credentials and identification card. You can find several dispensary Miami locations throughout the city.

Can You Smoke Weed in Miami?

Recreational marijuana is illegal in Miami. However, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office policy does not prosecute possession charges when the amount is small. The City of Miami Beach has an ordinance that prohibits smoking in public.

Can You Smoke Weed on Miami Beach?

Smoking weed is illegal on Miami Beach. The City of Miami Beach passed ordinance § 70-7³, prohibiting smoking marijuana, hemp, or cannabis on the beach and in public parks. However, several lawmakers are continuing to push for marijuana legalization.

What Is the Penalty for Smoking Weed in Public in Miami Beach?

person on beach holding a marijuana joint and paper bag

The penalty for smoking marijuana on a beach or in a public park in Miami is a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.

Remember, the police have discretion in their enforcement of the law. They may give you a warning and advise you of the law. However, they also have the authority to make an arrest or issue a civil citation.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Miami?

Weed is decriminalized in Miami. As of 2019, state prosecutors for Miami Dade announced their policy not to enforce laws prohibiting the possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, marijuana officially remains illegal, and it is unlawful to smoke in public places.

Can You Possess Marijuana in Miami?

Except for medical purposes, marijuana is illegal in Miami and throughout Florida. However, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office made a policy decision in 2019 to decline to prosecute small amounts of marijuana. Law enforcement may exercise discretion in their enforcement of the law, but it is technically still illegal to possess marijuana in Miami, FL.

What Is the Penalty for Marijuana in Miami?

Here are the penalties for marijuana in Miami at a glance:

  • Possession of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • However, it is the policy of local law enforcement not to enforce possession of small amounts of marijuana
  • Despite Miami decriminalizing marijuana, it is still illegal to smoke on a public beach or in a public park in Miami Beach
  • The distribution of small amounts of marijuana (20 grams or less) without pay is a misdemeanor publishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Possession and distribution of marijuana carry increasingly more significant penalties as greater amounts of marijuana are involved. Ultimately, an offender may receive up to 30 years in prison
  • Medical marijuana is legal in Miami and throughout Florida. A person wanting to use medical marijuana must go through the appropriate steps to receive approval for medical marijuana use and follow any applicable restrictions on the manner of use

Why Are Marijuana Laws Sometimes Not Enforced in Miami-Dade?

On July 1, 2019, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced policy changes regarding the enforcement of marijuana possession in its jurisdiction. The reason for the change was the legalization of cannabis products that do not have a psychoactive ingredient, including hemp, oils, and other products. These legal products smell too much like the illegal substance marijuana⁵.

Law enforcement authorities reason that it would be too easy for the police to confuse what is legal and illegal. According to the State Attorney, they don’t want to conduct unlawful searches or proceed under suspicion of wrongdoing that could have a lawful cause.

In 2015, Miami-Dade announced an initiative to allow law enforcement to issue civil citations rather than criminal charges. Offenders could pay the fine or perform community service. Then, in 2019, they changed the policy to declining prosecution of minor possession charges.

Is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Illegal in Miami Beach?

Man driving and smoking joint

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Miami Beach under Florida Statutes § 316.193⁶. The law prohibits driving under the influence of any controlled substance to the extent that normal faculties are impaired. Penalties for a first offense with no aggravating circumstances are up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension.

A person who drives has given their implied consent to a chemical test on suspicion of driving under the influence. (Florida Statutes § 316.1932⁷).

Personal Injury Attorneys in Miami-Dade

Our personal injury attorneys represent individuals who are harmed by the actions of others. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident where the use of marijuana was a factor, or if you have been harmed in another way, contact our law firm at (800) 429-4529 for a free consultation about your case.

Sources:

1FLA. STAT. § 893.13 (2021)

2Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014

3MIAMI, FLA. REV. ORDINANCES ch.70 § 7 (2022)

4Lipsomb, J. (22 October 2019). Miami Beach Officially Bans Public Smoking of Marijuana and Hemp. Miami New Times. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

5Iannelli, J. (19 July 2019). Miami-Dade Cops Won’t Stop People for “Weed Smell” Alone Thanks to New Law. Miami New Times. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

6FLA. STAT. § 316.193 (2021)

7FLA. STAT. § 316.1932 (2021)

About the Author

attorney Jack Bernstein standing in front of a blurred background

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.