U.S. Attorney: Prosecution Of Marijuana Cases Will Focus On 'Large-Scale,' Trafficking Offenses

Aug 20, 2019

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Larry Keefe
Credit Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Last week, the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Northern District said he’s willing to step in and prosecute marijuana offenses that the state attorney will not. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe offered more specifics.

Keefe put out his original statement amid confusion related to state lab testing, which currently can’t tell the difference between marijuana and hemp. After Florida legalized hemp this past legislative session, state attorneys like Jack Campbell said they would press pause on prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

Keefe clarified today that his office will be focused on prosecuting larger-scale marijuana trafficking – which he says has a “close connection” to “the gun violence that plagues our communities.” Keefe also says legal, marijuana-related businesses will not be targeted.

Campbell, meanwhile, says he welcomes Keefe’s help in prosecuting cases while state attorneys work to figure out a way to get more accurate lab testing.

“Basically, the federal government has resources beyond the state,” Campbell told WFSU on Friday. “I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone, and I think that’s – I wish I had the resources of the DEA and the FBI, and I appreciate Mr. Keefe being willing to bring that to bare.”