Florida

Legislation History

The Florida Legislature in 2014 passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, coined as “Charlotte’s Web,” after the marijuana strain of the same name. The law allows seriously ill patients with cancer or epilepsy to use low-THC cannabis. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has since 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 cannabis treatments or medicines to seriously ill patients. In March 2016, low-THC and medical cannabis were added to the 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 over 70 percent voting in favor. Amendment 2 permitted broader legalization of medical cannabis and expanded the list of qualifying conditions, as well as transitioned the OCU to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), and establishes more Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs). Amendment 2 is still being amended by the Legislature.

 

Recreational marijuana sales, possession, and use remain illegal in Florida.

Overview

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 one time per year, and are registered to vote or pay income tax in their home state, may also qualify as Florida medical marijuana patients.

 

Florida references cannabis as low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana. In order to qualify as low-THC, the flowers, seeds, resin, and any other product derived from the cannabis plant must contain 0.8 percent or less of THC and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD) by weight.

Where is it Safe to Purchase?

Patients must purchase their product from a licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC). Delivery services are available. MMTCs cannot dispense more than a 70-day supply at a time. Edibles are legal, but must be commercially produced by MMTCs and only infused with cannabis oil.

 

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 exempt from state sales tax. Retail, delivery, distribution and storage are all 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.

 

Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification cards help patients obtain their approved orders of medical cannabis. These ID cards need to be brought at all times to an approved MMTC for verification when making a purchase. These cards are used by law enforcement, or other individuals wishing 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.

Where is it Safe to Consume?

Marijuana, except for low-THC cannabis, may not be consumed in any public place; on a school campus; in the workplace, unless permitted by the employer; or aboard a motor vehicle, public bus or 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 sprays, oils, vaping products, and pills. Currently, smoking cannabis in any form is prohibited by Florida law. Cannabis seeds and flower may only be used for vaping and must be sealed in tamper-proof containers.

 

As of late May 2018, the Florida Department of Health has appealed a ruling that the Legislature’s state ban on smokable cannabis is unconstitutional. Therefore, the smoking ban remains in effect until further notice.  

 

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
N/A
Recreational
18+
Medical
Possession Limit
for Flower
N/A
Recreational
70-day supply
Medical
Possession Limit
for Concentrates
N/A
Recreational
70-day supply
Medical

Possession

Florida references cannabis as low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana. In order to qualify as low-THC, the flowers, seeds, resin, and any other product derived from the cannabis plant must contain 0.8 percent or less of THC and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD) by weight.

 

Patients and legal representatives may not possess more than a 70-day supply of cannabis as determined by their doctor at any given time, and all marijuana purchased must remain in its original packaging.

 

Marijuana may not be transferred for any purposes other than a legal representative buying and transporting for a designated patient.

Florida 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. They 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 will also 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.

Qualifying Conditions

In order to qualify for medical cannabis, 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 one time per year, and are registered to vote or pay income tax in their home state, may also qualify as Florida medical marijuana patients.

  • 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)
  • Medical conditions comparable to those above
  • 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 Marijuana Use Registry Process

  1. Meet with a qualified physician. Patients may search for qualified ordering physicians on the OMMU page, or from a PDF list of physicians.
  2. 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.
  3. Physicians must enter patient information and email into the MMUR and approve an order.
  4. The OMMU will send patients an email, which includes directions for the MMUR identification card application process. A Patient ID Number will be included.
  5. Patients can submit the ID application electronically on the MMUR online registry or via mail. The application fee is $75.
  6. Patients will be notified by email whether their application is approved.
  7. Patients can order from an approved and licensed MMTC with the approval email temporarily until the ID card is mailed.

Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card

Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification cards help patients obtain their approved orders of medical marijuana. These ID cards need to be brought at all times to an approved MMTC for verification when making a purchase. These cards are used by law enforcement, or other individuals wishing to seek confirmation or 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.

Caregivers in Florida

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, or have any direct or indirect financial interest in an MMTC or lab-testing facility.

 

Patients may only designate one caregiver at a time, and minors younger than 18 are required to designate an adult caregiver or another legal representative to assist them with their medical cannabis use.

 

Follow the Legal Representative/Caregiver or Patient ID application instructions. This includes adult and minor patients, legal representatives, and caregivers wishing to obtain an ID card and medical marijuana.

 

Only residents of Florida may participate. A valid Florida driver’s license, identification card, voter registry card, or utility bill, must be shown to establish residency. MMUR ID cards will also require a photo to be submitted.

Caregiver Registry Process

  1. Patients must designate a caregiver in their application for the MMUR identification card.
  2. 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.
  3. Caregivers can submit the ID application electronically on the MMUR online registry or via mail. The application fee is $75.
  4. Caregivers will be notified by email whether their application is approved.
  5. 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 (1) year after approval. Applications for renewal cards should be filled out and mailed 45 days before the expiration date.

ID Fees and Renewals

If patients wish to change or remove either their caregiver or legal representative, they must also submit the Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card Legal Representative application.

 

Applications for renewal cards should be filled out and mailed 45 days before the expiration date. Cards expire one year after the first order. 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.

Becoming a Qualified Physician

Only qualified physicians are empowered to provide physician certifications and add qualifying patients to the MMUR.

 

To become qualified, doctors in good standing with the Florida Board of Medicine are required to take the two (2)-hour course through the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association.  Physicians are required to take 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

Reciprocity

Florida does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards or patients.

Lab Testing

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 financial interest in an MMTC. Licensed testing labs must apply for renewal every two (2) 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.

 

As of October 2018, the state of MMTC licensing in Florida is in flux. When Amendment 2 passed, the OMMU initially licensed MMTC that were already cultivating low-THC cannabis products under the original Office of Compassionate Use. In 2017, a special session by lawmakers placed a cap on MMTC licenses, in addition to the vertical integration requirement and a host of other restrictions.

 

In 2018, a Florida Supreme Court ruling found the license cap, as well as the requirement for cultivators to be entirely vertically integrated, to be unconstitutional. Until the OMMU can adjust its regulations to the court’s verdict, MMTC licensing is on hold.

This page was last updated on December 7, 2018.