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Marijuana Legalized In Colorado, Still Illegal In Florida

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Last night, Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize recreational use and possession of marijuana. According to the new constitutional amendment that won over 50% of the vote, people over the age of 21 may possess up to one ounce of marijuana. They may grow up to six marijuana plants. Stores and distributors may carry and sell personal use marijuana, which will be regulated and taxed by the State of Colorado.

While legal possession of marijuana will not take effect until the vote count is finalized, Florida is nowhere near legalization. We still have harsh penalties for possession of the drug. Up to one year in county jail and a two-year driver's license suspension for possession up to 20 grams. Over 20 grams and you can face up to five years in state prison.

For trafficking in marijuana (cannabis) you face, at minimum, a three-year prison term with a maximum of up to thirty years.

I applaud Colorado for getting it right. Marijuana is physically less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. It is not physically addictive. Marijuana can generate jobs and revenue for the state. And with proper regulation, the quality can assured and tax money can be collected.

So far, however, Florida is not even considering the possibility of legalization. Until that day comes, possessing even the smallest amount of marijuana in the State of Florida is a crime.