Intent to Sell vs. Personal Use: How Much of a Drug Is Too Much?
Everyone may know of someone that simply loves to smoke weed. They begin their day by smoking (wake and bake, as it’s called), and end it that way as well. Assume then, that said person gets arrested in Orlando for possession of cannabis with intent to sell or deliver, is it a defense that the large amount of weed is simply for personal use?
In the case of Alleyne v. State, 42 So.3d 948 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010), the defendant was caught with $56, and 18 individual Ziploc baggies of marijuana, but the total weight was less than 20 grams. This should be a misdemeanor possession of cannabis, right? No, it became a felony because the arresting officer deemed that the amount and packaging was not for personal use, it was for drug dealing. This was the officer’s conclusion even though he never saw Alleyne sell weed. Alleyne took the stand at trial, explaining how much he loves weed, and that this amount of weed would only last him about a day and half.
The court overturned Alleyne’s conviction for possession of cannabis with intent to sell or deliver, and directed the lower court to enter a conviction for mere misdemeanor possession of cannabis. The court reasoned that the amount of marijuana and the packaging was not enough, in this case, to prove the felony of intent to sell or deliver. More money in denominations consistent with drug dealing, and their decision would have been different. Mysterious hand-to-hand transactions witnessed by police, and their decision could have been different. So for today, 18 baggies of weed weighing less than 20 grams is still a misdemeanor.