Did you know Florida is has some of the harshest mandatory drug sentencing laws in place in the country? According to WSFU News, these laws could be changing drastically soon leaving it up to the court system and judges to decide on a fair punishment on a case-by-case basis.
Many states around the country have recently passed laws legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana use, creating a confusing situation around the country as the laws regarding marijuana can widely differ from state to state. Despite the fact that Amendment Two, which supported the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida, passed with an overwhelming amount of votes in the election of 2016, the state of Florida is still grappling with largely misunderstood laws when it comes to the legal use of medical marijuana.
A recent case surfaced in Miami Beach where a popular barber was arrested after a comprehensive undercover sting. The barber was charged with several drug charges including 10 counts of marijuana possession and selling; seven counts of cocaine possession and selling; five counts of ecstasy possession and selling; and two counts of using communications devices in an unlawful act. He is currently being held on a $120,000 bond.
It's well known that Florida is one of the tougher states for minimum mandatory sentencing for drug offenses. The fact is that many first-time offenders and legitimate addicts end up in prison serving lengthy sentences due to the minimum sentencing that is required for crimes categorized as trafficking. The opioid crisis and pill mills in the state have only added to the large number of people who are sent to prison every year for drug-related crimes.
At the height of the "pill mill" crisis in Florida, we saw an increase in dependency and deaths related to opioid addiction, primarily addition to certain prescribed painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and morphine. Florida was ground zero for the consumption and black market of these drugs. Otherwise law-abiding citizens were caught up in the illegal sale and consumption of dangerous prescribed painkillers, constantly seeking the euphoric high associated with these drugs.
It's not uncommon for narcotics to be found at sea with drug distribution operations occurring in conjunction with fishermen. Typically, Fishermen are found to be transporting narcotics as "drug mules," however a recent event in Florida was somewhat different.
On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, Florida's Amendment 2, commonly referred to as the medical marijuana amendment, went into effect after voters approved the change in November. While regulations are still not clearly defined-including whether or not smokeable marijuana will be allowed-what we do know is that the new law opens the window for the usage of cannabis for a wider array of medical conditions. The Florida Legislature and Department of Health is still working out the details, but here is what we do know.
In a controversial decision, Christopher Sharod Massena was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison for supplying a drug called fentanyl to Christian Hernandez who died as a result of an overdose of the drug. The controversy surrounds not just the verdict, but also the judge's ruling to not allow the defense's argument into the courtroom.
Back in June, Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez was arrested in Miami Lakes on money laundering and marijuana trafficking charges. Investigators recorded Hernandez-Gonzalez on a phone call via a wiretap with marijuana growers from Miami who were arrested in Tennessee. He allegedly gave the individuals marijuana growing advice during the phone call. The conversation led investigators to his home where they found $22 million hidden in Home Depot buckets.
Recently, Miami-Dade prosecutors charged Raymundo Rodriguez Fernandez in the March 2014 death of Cheri Rollins. Rollins was a well-respected advocate for gay and lesbian rights and a vocal proponent against school privatization in Philadelphia, where she lived.