Medical marijuana sales are becoming more common across the U.S. Florida is one of 37 states that permits the purchase and consumption of medical marijuana with a proper prescription from medical professionals at the time of this writing. While the regulation of these products continues to evolve, so too does the prosecution.
You're still not allowed to drive under the influence of drugs, even if the drug is your medical marijuana prescription. So, what happens if you have your prescription marijuana in your car?
Police can ask for proof
The fact is you are permitted to have your prescription marijuana in your car. How else would people who need medical marijuana be expected to transport their medication from the dispensary to their homes or to other locations where it may be necessary?
This won't absolve you of the possibility of DUI and other charges, though. Officers may demand you produce a few items to prove your prescription:
- Original packaging
- A valid medical marijuana prescription card
- Proof your prescription was purchased at a certified Florida dispensary
This means you should always have your card on you, especially when transporting your medical marijuana. It's also important to keep the drug in its original packaging. The packaging should have important identifying information on it, and this prevents the possibility of police claiming you are transporting non-medical marijuana products.
Police can also check the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (Statute 381.987) to verify your prescription, so you should never attempt to pass off a fake card. If you aren't able to produce these items you can be arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana.
“Sniff and search” as probable cause is under debate
When you have your prescribed Florida medical marijuana in your car, this could lead to a noticeable odor. Historically, police have used the presence of smells as “probable cause” to search people's vehicles. In recent years, however, some courts have pushed back on this and defended the rights of drivers who were subjected to illegal searches. Showing proof via a medical marijuana card and/or original packaging should shield you from a vehicle search based upon the odor of marijuana.
If the police pull you out of your car and search your property, anything they find could be incriminating but also may be inadmissible in court if the judge rules the search violated your right against unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
We recently wrote about what to do if police ever attempt to search your car and the situations in which they are or aren't allowed to do so. If you feel like the police are violating your rights as a Florida medical marijuana patient, contact Malcolm Anthony, P.A. We can defend your rights and make sure your medical marijuana prescription is protected as the law allows.