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Much Lower Threshold for Trafficking in Pills Crime

When people think of the crime of trafficking in illegal drugs and drug traffickers, they think of people moving large amounts of illegal drugs in and out of Florida. The people charged with drug trafficking charges in Florida are alleged to be major drug dealers because it is supposed to take a large quantity of illegal drugs to reach the level of trafficking. The crime of trafficking in illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine requires a large amount of drugs because the penalties associated with those crimes are very severe. Otherwise, for smaller quantities of illegal drugs consistent with someone who just uses them should come with more minor penalties.

For marijuana and cocaine in Florida, this is often the case. A person has to be in possession of more than 25 pounds of cannabis (marijuana) to be charged with trafficking in marijuana. It is difficult for someone to argue that more than 25 pounds of marijuana is for personal use. A person has to have 28 grams or more of cocaine to be charged with trafficking in cocaine. 28 grams does not actually appear to be a large quantity of anything, but it is certainly more than what one would consider a personal use amount.

However, for illegal pills that are obtained without the appropriate doctor’s prescription, a person can have very few pills and be charged with the serious crime of trafficking. It only requires possession of 4 grams or more of pills such as Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycodone, Oxycontin and other similar pills to be charged with trafficking. While those pills actually have just a very small amount of the actual drug in them (most of those pills are comprised of other substances), it is the weight of the entire pill, not just the portion of the actual drug in the pill, that is relevant to the trafficking quantity determination. Four grams of illegal pills are not very much. If a person has a few pills without a prescription, he/she could be subject to a trafficking charge that comes with a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 3 years.

We think this part of the law is unreasonable. There are people who lawfully acquired pain pills due to injuries and other conditions who become addicted to them or otherwise need them to deal with constant pain. It does not take very many pills for that person to be considered a drug trafficker under the law. A person who brings bricks of cocaine into the state in the trunk of the case may be appropriately considered a drug trafficker. Someone who gets a few pain pills without a prescription to treat pain should not be considered a drug trafficker under Florida law.