Robin Fuson
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Are “Dabs” A Felony In Florida?

DUI

It was a relatively unknown practice only a decade ago, but “dabbing” has now emerged as an increasingly-popular cultural phenomenon. What is dabbing? Is it legal? What does the law in Florida say about dabbing?

“Dabs” are concentrated doses of marijuana that are made by extracting the active chemicals in marijuana – primarily tetrahydrocannabinol (or “THC”) – by using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide.

The final product is a sticky oil called cannabis oil, cannabis resin, hash oil, or “wax.” A “dab” of the sticky oil is heated on a hot surface like a nail or a spoon and inhaled through a “dab rig,” which is typically a device similar in some respects to a nebulizer.

WHAT IS THE LAW IN FLORIDA?

What is the law in Florida regarding dabs and dabbing? Pot smokers have always looked for ways to increase the potency of marijuana, but in 2018, it is technology and new chemical extraction methods that are driving the current popularity of “dabbing.”

Unfortunately for cannabis consumers, the law in Florida regarding dabs is still quite harsh. It is a felony in Florida to possess any amount of any cannabis concentrate.

While possessing less than twenty grams of “regular” or “flower” marijuana is still a misdemeanor in this state, there is no misdemeanor charge for possessing dabs.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR POSSESSING CONCENTRATED MARIJUANA?

The possession of even one gram of concentrated marijuana is a felony in Florida punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison, five years on probation, and a fine of up to $5,000.

Additionally, any person who is convicted for the possession of cannabis concentrates will have his or her driver’s license revoked by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for one year.

Because the possession of cannabis concentrates is a Level 3 felony offense under Florida law, a judge has the full discretion to sentence a person convicted of the charge to probation, to five years in prison, or to any sentence that falls between those minimum and maximum sentences.

Thus, if you are charged with the possession of dabs – that is, with the possession of cannabis concentrates – you cannot assume that you will “skate” or that the court will be lenient simply because your case involves a form of marijuana.

HOW CAN A DEFENSE ATTORNEY HELP?

In fact, you will very much need the advice and representation of an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney if you are charged in Florida with the possession of cannabis concentrates.

You will also need to retain that legal advice and defense representation as swiftly as possible after you’ve been arrested and charged.

How will a defense lawyer represent you against the charge of possessing cannabis concentrates?

In any criminal case, your defense attorney will look first at the behavior of the police. If your rights were violated at any point during an investigation, interrogation, search, or arrest, your attorney will probably file a motion to have the charge against you dismissed.

WHAT DEFENSES ARE TYPICALLY OFFERED IN MARIJUANA CASES?

In marijuana cases in Florida, the defenses that you and your attorney might offer include:

1. Lack of knowledge or control: If the police discover cannabis in a location where more than one person had access, a prosecutor would have to prove that you knew the marijuana was present and that you had “dominion and control” over the marijuana.

2. Medical necessity: Medical necessity can be offered as a defense to marijuana possession when a person suffers from an illness or ailment for which there was no lawful medication available to treat the illness properly.

3. Temporary possession: A “temporary possession” defense can be offered if a person took temporary, transitory, or momentary possession of marijuana from the actual owner without ever exercising complete dominion or control over the marijuana.

4. The prescription defense: Some forms of cannabis are legal in Florida for specific medical purposes. If cannabis concentrate was lawfully obtained with a legally valid prescription, there is no crime, and a criminal charge will probably be dismissed.

CAN DABBING BE DANGEROUS?

The dabbing process can be quite dangerous, so you must not try it at home. Even if you avoid a burn injury, a fire, or an explosion, there is no way to know what kind of unhealthy contaminants may find their way into the final product.

Another potential danger for consumers is the potency of dabs. Habitual pot smokers may be taken by surprise when they consume dabs for the first time.

Anyone who is accustomed to a “buzz” or a “mild” marijuana high may find the effects of dabbing to be overwhelmingly intense.

You absolutely must not drive or operate any kind of heavy equipment after dabbing, and you must not consume dabs along with alcohol or with any other drugs.

Frankly, the long-term effects of dabbing are unknown. While hundreds of research projects over half-a-century have studied the effects of smoking “regular” pot, almost no research has been conducted that focuses on dabbing.

WHAT ARE THE REPORTED BENEFITS OF DABBING?

However, when dabbing is done under the proper conditions with clean and tested products, medical patients have reported that dabbing is a swift, powerful, and effective delivery method.

Dabs that have been properly made give the consumer a cleaner product that is easier on the lungs.

Dabs eliminate most of the resin and hot smoke produced by “conventional” pot-smoking while still delivering the THC and the other cannabinoids that are essential for medical (and recreational) purposes.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Dabs and the whole range of cannabis concentrates may have a great deal to offer patients and consumers in the future as the dabbing process is perfected and as they become available to more patients and users.

For now, however, in Florida, if you are charged with possessing dabs – or with possessing marijuana in any form or quantity, except under a doctor’s orders – you are still going to need the advice and representation that a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney can provide.

If you are charged with any crime, you have the right to an attorney. Your freedom and future will be at stake, so you must exercise that right and get the legal help you need – at once.

Robin Fuson
By Robin Fuson