Posted on September 6, 2018

Today, we’re comparing decriminalization versus legalization of marijuana. Contrary to popular belief, the terms are not interchangeable. There are distinct differences between the two. If you’re a marijuana user or looking to become a medical marijuana patient, it’s important for you to know the difference.

In the state of Florida, medical marijuana is now legal. Recreational pot use on the other hand, remains illegal. 21 states and DC, not including Florida have decriminalized marijuana while recreational pot is only legal in 9 states and DC. Marijuana possession and use in general, remains federally illegal in all 50 states.

What is Decriminalization?

Decriminalization is the loosening of criminal penalties pertaining to personal use and possession even though the drug itself remains illegal.

If you hold a valid medical marijuana card, and are only in possession of a personal amount, you will usually be fine if confronted by law enforcement. You must always have your card on you, and your marijuana must be in its original packaging. You can still be charged with a criminal offense if stopped by a federal official. This is due to the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal. 

In states where marijuana has been decriminalized, law enforcement will usually overlook small, personal amounts of marijuana. Instead of criminal charges, those caught with small amounts of cannabis will only face civil fines. Production and sale of the drug remain illegal and will usually result in arrest. Remember, you must always purchase your medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary.

What is Legalization?

Legalization of marijuana lifts the laws that have previously banned personal use and possession. In other words, it is perfectly legal for you to be in possession of personal amounts of marijuana. It is worth noting that it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana.

Furthermore, legalization allows the government to regulate and tax sales of medical marijuana. Legalization can also help taxpayers save millions of dollars on judicial fees.


You must be aware of state and federal laws if you plan on using marijuana. 

If you believe you may be a good candidate for medical marijuana, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule your free consultation ONLINE. There’s no reason to live in pain a minute longer, medical marijuana can change your life. With a medical marijuana card you can find relief while obeying state law.