Is Medical-Only Weed Legal in Florida?

August 24, 2021
Florida Cannabis Legality for Medicine
Florida Cannabis Legality for Medicine

Is Marijuana Legal in the State of Florida?

In Florida, a person can only legally buy, possess, and consume medical weed/marijuana if it is recommended by a licensed physician, and if The Sunshine State approves the application to be part of their medical marijuana program.  Cannabis Possession amounts of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor, no matter if you live in cities such as Miami, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, etc.

 

History of Weed Laws

Florida passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in 2014, which began as a very strict program that deemed cannabis use only acceptable for patients with epilepsy or cancer and required the use of low-THC products only.  The state’s Department of Health (DOH) developed the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) in order to regulate the state’s new medical marijuana program to ensure safety, accessibility, and compliance. 

 

In 2015, Governor Scott signed the Florida Right to Try Act, which gave physicians legal permission to try experimental and unapproved therapeutics on patients if it would potentially benefit their health.  Low-THC marijuana was added to the list of experimental treatments in 2016, thus allowing physicians to legally treat their patients with marijuana products.

 

On November 8, 2016, Florida residents voted to pass the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which more than 70%.  This finally allowed for a much larger list of qualifying conditions that patients could have in order to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program.  It also led to the development of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, leading then to the creation of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers regulated by this state. 

 

Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Florida?

In FL, the only people who can legally purchase marijuana are those who have been administered a state-issued medical marijuana card, and they must make purchases from MMCT (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) as purchasing from other sources is illegal.  Patients must present their card at the time of purchase to verify that they are authorized to buy cannabis.

 

Patients are permitted to buy up to 35 days’ worth of smokable flower, and 70 days’ worth of other types of cannabis products such as edibles, oils, and other infused products.  Many dispensaries deliver to patients’ homes, and patients do not need to pay sales tax on cannabis products.

 

Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

It is illegal to consume cannabis in public, and you can face higher criminal charges if you’re caught consuming cannabis on school grounds, on public transportation, on a boat or on a plane.  You are also prohibited from smoking cannabis in the workplace unless your employer has allowed you to do so.  You can legally consume cannabis at your home or on another private property with the property owner’s permission.  Patients who are minors cannot legally consume smokable cannabis products unless they are authorized to do so by the state due to special circumstances.  Also, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal, and can lead to criminal charges.

 

Possession Laws

Under federal law, two types of cannabis products are permitted: raw flower, and low-THC products, which must contain no more than 0.8% THC and more than 10% CBD.  Patients and caregivers may possess up to a 70-day supply at a time, and it is illegal to transfer cannabis from one individual to another except in the case of caregivers administering it to their designated patients.

 

Can Residents Grow Their Own?

Medical patients, caregivers, and recreational users are equally prohibited from cultivating cannabis in any amount.  Being caught growing your own cannabis can result in criminal charges associated with drug trafficking laws.

 

Medical Marijuana

The medical marijuana registry in Florida is managed through the state’s Department of Health (DOH).  A patient must be diagnosed with one of the below qualifying conditions and apply by submitting an application to the DOH.  From there, if approved, the patient or their designated caregiver will provide a medical marijuana card that is valid only at state-licensed dispensaries, as patients are prohibited from purchasing cannabis elsewhere.

 

Qualifying Conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition
  • Medical conditions comparable to those above 

 

Patient Qualifications:

Patients 18 or older, or patients who are minors but have a parent or legal guardian who can sign on their behalf, can submit an application for medical marijuana as long as they have been diagnosed with one of the above qualifying conditions by a state-qualified doctor, meaning a doctor who the state has approved to recommend marijuana.  Both permanent and seasonal residents are eligible for the program.  Patients will require a certification from their doctor to move forward with the application process.

 

How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Florida

Registering for medical marijuana in Florida requires filling out an application through the state’s DOH website.  Your physician is also required to send in a form on your behalf.  A patient identification number will be provided during the process so that you can access your information at any time.  There is a $75 application fee.

 

Qualifying as a Caregiver

To be qualified as a caregiver in Florida, you must be at least 21 years of age and have no employment in marijuana testing or marijuana treatment.  There is a background check that will be performed by all caregivers who are not closely related to the patient.

 

Registering as a Caregiver

To register as a caregiver in Florida, you must apply through the Medical Marijuana Use Registry website, which, if approved, will provide you with a medical card that allows you to purchase cannabis on your patient’s behalf.

 

Reciprocity Laws

Florida is one of several states that does not have reciprocity laws.  Therefore, if you are visiting Florida as an out of state resident, and you have a medical card from your own state, you cannot legally purchase cannabis at a dispensary in Florida.

 

Lab-Testing

All cannabis products that are sold in the state of Florida for medical use must undergo a testing process by a third-party laboratory.  This process identifies the compound profile of the cannabis product, along with testing for impurities, contaminants, heavy metals, and other unwanted compounds that could either be undesirable or harmful.