Svoboda and her caterer, Jocelyn Grant, were arrested last Thursday in the Central Florida town of Sanford and charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence, a felony charge of delivering marijuana, and a felony violation of Florida’s Anti-Tampering Act, which prohibits tampering with food and consumer products without a person’s knowledge. So New Times reached out to attorney Dustin Robinson, AKA “Mr. Cannabis Law” of South Florida, for his legal opinion on whether it’s actually possible for a stoner bride to throw the cannabis-spiked wedding of her dreams.
“Everything about [Danya Svoboda’s wedding] was black-and-white, very clearly illegal activity,” Robinson explains as a given. “But there is a gray area when throwing a private event. You’d just have to jump through a lot of different hoops.”
Though weed remains federally illegal, in Florida, where medical marijuana was legalized via a 2016 constitutional amendment, eligible patients suffering from certain specified conditions can be prescribed a medical marijuana card by a doctor or licensed medical marijuana treatment center, and then purchase cannabis from a medical marijuana treatment center registered with the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
With the help of a tenacious (and sober) event planner, Robinson theorizes, an individual could host an event that is clearly closed off to the public and ensure that each guest has obtained their own medical marijuana card. In order to prepare the meal, each guest would have to bring their own personal serving of THC distillate obtained from a licensed dispensary and give it to a chef to cook with their individual serving or portion.
“If everyone has a card and brings their own cannabis, and additional safeguards are in place, I think it’s actually possible to do a private consumption event,” concludes Robinson, who specializes in helping canna-businesses navigate the highly regulated industry.
In an abundance of caution, Robinson would recommend that each guest sign a waiver consenting to consume cannabis and waiving the hosts’ liability.
Perhaps needless to say, Svoboda implemented precisely none of these legal safeguards at her February 19 wedding.
According to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office’s incident report obtained by New Times, officers stated that Svoboda hired Bryant, a holistic, plant-based chef and caterer, to prepare the food at her wedding. But after ingesting chocolate shots, strawberries, and a “handful of lasagna,” several attendees called fire-rescue to report feeling fidgety, tingly, and plagued by racing thoughts and a dry mouth. Some guests were hospitalized.
Police confiscated and tested a number of glasses, dishes, utensils, and food samples from the party and found traces of THC in them, as well as in blood samples from hospitalized guests.
Svoboda has an arraignment hearing set for June 7 in Seminole County Court. Bryant has opted to plead not guilty and fight the charges against her.
Robinson clarifies that his hypothetical cannabis wedding theory is just that, a theory. While untested, he believed, if followed closely it should keep stoner brides out of legal hot water in the Sunshine State.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people who are interested in doing these kinds of events,” he adds. “But I’ve yet to see anyone execute it.”