Is Weed Legal in Florida?
Medical marijuana recommended by a licensed physician is allowed in some instances in Florida. In 2019, a ban on smokable forms of medical marijuana was overturned, though some patients will need two recommendations from doctors. Recreational marijuana sales, possession, and use remain illegal in Florida.
The Florida Legislature in 2014 passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, coined “Charlotte’s Web,” as it legalized the marijuana strain of the same name. The law allowed seriously ill patients with cancer or epilepsy to use low-THC cannabis. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) established the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) to manage the state’s medical cannabis program.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed the Florida Right to Try Act into law in 2015, allowing physicians to provide experimental, treatments or medicines (FDA) not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to seriously ill patients. In March 2016, low-THC and medical cannabis were added to this list of experimental medicines with the passage of HB 307.
Florida voters passed the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Amendment 2, on Nov. 8, 2016, with more than 70% voting in favor. Amendment 2 permitted broader legalization of medical cannabis and expanded the list of qualifying conditions. The amendment also transitioned the OCU to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) and called for the establishment of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC).
In 2017, a special session by lawmakers placed a cap on MMTC licenses, a move that further added to the barriers formed by the vertical integration requirement and other restrictions that already existed in the law. The requirement that a license holder grow and sell marijuana, a structure known as vertical integration, largely restricted patient access and sent medical cannabis prices soaring.
On March 18, 2019, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 182 into law, which repealed the existing ban on smoking medical marijuana and allowed allowed physicians to recommend smoking to qualified patients as an appropriate route of administration.
Also in 2018, a Leon County Circuit Court ruling found the license cap unconstitutional, as well as the requirement for cultivators to be entirely vertically integrated. Following lawsuits, appeals, and vocal disapproval from DeSantis, on April 19, 2019, the DOH issued eight new MMTC licenses.
On July 9, 2019, Florida’s First First District Court of Appeal ruled once more that the existing litigation is unconstitutional and ordered the DOH to address the issue. The requirement for vertical integration is currently under examination by Florida lawmakers, and it is likely the issue will head to the Florida Supreme Court.
On June 25, 2019, DeSantis signed legislation that legalized state-licensed hemp farming and sales in Florida. Florida’s Agriculture Department is responsible for creating regulations in the new industry.
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use, established by the state Department of Health, is the organization responsible for the regulation of Florida’s medical cannabis program.
to Be to Consume?
Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification cards help patients obtain their approved orders of medical marijuana. The ID cards must be presented for verification when making a purchase at an approved MMTC. The cards are used by law enforcement, or other individuals who seek to verify that a legal patient is a part of the statewide database. Law enforcement officers may require a patient to show their cards at any appropriate time.
Patients must purchase their product from a licensed (MMTC). Delivery services are available. MMTCs cannot dispense more than a 70-day supply of cannabis in all forms at one time, and up to a 35-day supply of smokable flower. Edibles are legal, but must be commercially produced by MMTCs and only infused with cannabis oil. Patients and caregivers can purchase a 35-day supply of smokable flower and a 70-day supply of other cannabis forms at a time.
Each MMTC must have available at least one low-THC cannabis product for patients to purchase.
Sales, use, and other transactions for marijuana and marijuana delivery devices used for medical purposes are exempt from state sales tax. Retail, delivery, distribution, and storage are also exempt from state sales tax.
Licensed MMTCs can deliver medical cannabis to registered patients anywhere in Florida. Delivery fees and other logistics may apply depending on the MMTC.
Marijuana may not be consumed in any public place; on a school campus; in the workplace, unless permitted by the employer (smoking is prohibited indoors); or aboard a motor vehicle, public bus, train, aircraft, or watercraft. Consumption must take place in a private residence. Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.
Cannabis may be consumed as edibles and via spray, oils, vaping, smoking, and pills. Cannabis seeds and flower may only be used for smoking or vaping and must be sealed in tamper-proof containers. Patients younger than 18 may not consume medical cannabis via smoking unless the patient is diagnosed with a terminal condition, with a second, board-certified physician concurring with the diagnosis.
Florida defines cannabis as either low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana. In order to qualify as low-THC, the flowers, seeds, resin, and any other products derived from the cannabis plant must contain 0.8% or less THC and more than 10% of cannabidiol (CBD) by weight.
Patients and legal representatives may not possess more than a 70-day supply of cannabis at any given time, and all marijuana purchased must remain in its original packaging. Patients may not purchase more than a 35-day supply of cannabis (2.5 ounces, or) or possess more than 4 ounces of smokable cannabis at any one time.
Marijuana may not be transferred for any purposes other than a legal representative buying and transporting for a designated patient.
It is illegal for patients to cultivate marijuana for personal use.
Medical Marijuana Registry
The OMMU, authorized by the Florida Department of Health, oversees the statewide Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) and is responsible for licensing businesses to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients. The MMUR was formerly called the Compassionate Use Registry.
The registry is an online database for the registration of authorized physicians and qualified patients. Physicians and patients may access the registry online to communicate. The registry is connected to the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) State ID system.
The DOH collects Social Security numbers used for identification purposes to ensure that the Patient ID Number assigned to qualified medical users is unique.
A qualified ordering physician uses the registry to instruct how their patients or caregivers can obtain medical marijuana or delivery devices. The physician will collect patients’ birth dates, weights, and genders. All orders must be entered into the MMUR by a qualified ordering physician and dispensed by an approved MMTC.
Patients or caregivers also will be able to view real-time information, orders, and complete electronic applications in the registry.
A comprehensive Registry Guide is available for patients, caregivers, and legal representatives.
A patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions to qualify to receive marijuana or a marijuana administration device:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- 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 or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition
- Medical conditions comparable to those above
In order to qualify for medical marijuana, a prospective patient must meet with a qualified ordering physician and be diagnosed with a qualifying condition. Qualifying conditions are ailments or medical issues patients experience that could be alleviated with cannabis. They are listed as legally approved conditions, which help a physician determine whether a prospective patient is eligible.
All prospective medical marijuana patients must be Florida residents and at least 18 years old, unless a minor younger than 18 designates an adult caregiver or legal representative to help obtain marijuana. Seasonal residents, who have lived at least 31 consecutive days per year in Florida and maintain a temporary residence, return to their home state at least once per year, and are registered to vote or pay income tax in their home state, may also qualify as Florida medical marijuana patients.
Patient Registry Process
- Meet with a qualified physician. Patients may search for qualified ordering physicians on the OMMU page, or from a PDF list of physicians.
- Patients must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. If patients are younger than 18 or terminally ill, a second physician must confirm the diagnosis.
- Physicians must enter patient information and email into the MMUR and approve an order.
- The OMMU will send patients an email, which includes directions for the MMUR identification card application process. A Patient ID Number will be included.
- Patients can submit the ID application electronically on the MMUR online registry or via mail. The application fee is $75.
- Patients will be notified by email whether their application is approved.
- Patients can order from an approved and licensed MMTC with the approval email temporarily until the ID card is mailed.
ID cards are valid for one year after approval. Applications for renewal cards should be filled out and mailed 45 days before the expiration date. There must also be sufficient time to obtain a new order from a qualifying ordering physician. For more information about renewals and processing, call the OMMU at (800) 808-9580.
Patients may designate a caregiver when they apply to the MMUR. Caregivers with a valid registry ID card can purchase cannabis on their patients’ behalf and assist with the administration of their medicine.
Caregivers must be at least 21 years old, not a qualifying physician nor have any financial interest in an MMTC. Patients may only designate one caregiver at a time, and patients younger than 18 are required to designate an adult caregiver or another legal representative to assist them with their medical cannabis use.
Caregiver Registry Process
- Patients must designate a caregiver in their application for the MMUR identification card.
- The OMMU will send the caregiver an email, which includes directions for the MMUR identification card application process. A Caregiver ID Number will be included.
- Caregivers can submit the ID application electronically on the MMUR online registry or via mail. The application fee is $75.
- Caregivers will be notified by email whether their application is approved.
- Caregivers can order from an approved and licensed MMTC with the approval email temporarily until the ID card is mailed.
ID cards are valid for one year after approval. Applications for renewal cards should be filled out and mailed 45 days before the expiration date.
Only qualified physicians are empowered to provide physician certifications and add qualifying patients to the MMUR.
To become qualified, doctors in good licensed standing are required to take the 2-hour course through the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. Physicians are required to retake this course each time they renew their medical license.
To certify prospective patients, a physician must conduct a full, in-person examination of the patient and assess the individual’s medical history. Following this assessment, the physician must diagnose the patient with a qualifying medical condition and enter the patient’s information into the MMUR.
Physicians must specify each certified patient’s:
- Qualifying condition
- Daily required dosage of medical marijuana
- Authorized amount and form of medical marijuana
- Medical marijuana delivery devices required for medical use
Physicians may not certify more than six, 35-day supplies of smokable marijuana for a single patient; however, a physician may request a DOH-authorized exception to this rule.
Doctors cannot have direct or indirect financial interest in an MMTC or lab-testing facility.
Florida does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards or patients.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are currently developing regulations for labs and testing. The Florida State Public Health Statutes now require MMTCs to pay for state-certified labs to perform testing and audits.
Laboratory testing laws are now in effect, and all MMTCs must submit cannabis samples to a licensed lab testing facility. Samples must be tested for contaminants and accurate cannabinoid profiles.
The FDACS has yet to determine which contaminants must be tested for, and what are safe contaminant levels for human consumption.
Entities seeking a license for marijuana lab testing must submit a complete application and application fee to the OMMU for approval. Applicants may not have a financial interest in an MMTC. Licensed testing labs must apply for renewal every two years.
Licensing for Growers, Manufacturers, Processors, and Retailers
An MMTC is a business authorized to grow, process, dispense, and deliver medical marijuana to registered Florida patients and caregivers. These entities are required to be vertically integrated from seed to sale.
CBD and Hemp Rules
On June 25, 2019, DeSantis signed SB 1020, which legalized state-licensed hemp farming and sales in Florida. Florida’s Agriculture Department is responsible for creating regulations in the new industry and began the rulemaking process in June 2019.
This page was last updated on October 1, 2019.