In Florida, in order to be charged with trafficking in marijuana, which typically carries much higher penalties than possession of marijuana, the quantity of marijuana has to be greater than 25 pounds. In a recent trafficking in marijuana case south of Jacksonville, Florida, after the defendant was arrested, the police weighed the marijuana at 26 pounds, which is sufficient for a trafficking in marijuana charge. Approximately a year and a half later, the criminal defense lawyer for the defendant had the marijuana re-weighed. The weight at that time was 24 pounds, which was not sufficient for a trafficking in marijuana charge. Apparently the discrepancy was due to water seeping from the marijuana over time that pooled at the bottom of the container. The question, then is whether the weight of the water can be included in the weight of the marijuana for the purpose of a trafficking in marijuana charge.
The court determined that the weight of the marijuana does include moisture and the charge of trafficking in marijuana was appropriate. Under Florida law, marijuana, or cannabis, is basically defined as all parts of the marijuana plant including the seeds, the resin and any compound thereof. As a result, the court found that this includes any moisture naturally found in the plant for weighing purposes. It would not, however, include packaging materials, soil or excess water not inherent in the plant’s vegetable matter.
Since the court decided that the water that seeped out of the marijuana plant over time was a natural part of the plant, and not excess water, it was included in the weight of the marijuana and the trafficking in marijuana charge was upheld.