Medical Marijuana Laws in Florida
If you’re a Florida state resident, you may be generally aware that medical marijuana is permissible under state laws, but that recreational cannabis is still considered illegal. In this article, we’ll define exactly what legal limitations are in place under state law, so you won’t be at risk for violating any statutes. If you’re visiting the state for some reason, you should be aware of these laws so as not to run afoul of the authorities, and to stay within the law. To some extent, possession of cannabis has been de-criminalized within state boundaries, but you won’t be allowed to be in possession of a large amount of cannabis, because this will be considered intent to sell or dispense it for profit. Below, you’ll find explanations of exactly what is and what is not allowed under state law regarding cannabis purchase and usage.
What You Need to Know
If you’re a Florida newcomer, here’s what you need to know about medical marijuana laws in Florida:
- you can legally purchase 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana during any 35-day period
- you cannot own more than 4 ounces of medical marijuana during this same 35-days
- you cannot legally purchase recreational marijuana from any source in the state
- you must have a valid medical marijuana card in order to make purchases from any of the state’s cannabis dispensaries
- if caught in possession of 25 pounds of cannabis, it will be considered a felony, and you will be prosecuted
- if caught in possession of smaller amounts, e.g., several ounces, you will be cited rather than arrested
- you cannot transport cannabis across state lines, since this will be considered drug trafficking.
Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?
The answer to this is – yes and no. The marijuana laws in Florida call for two different tracks, those being laws regarding medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Yes, it is legal to purchase marijuana in the state, as long as you have a properly issued medical marijuana card that has been approved by state physicians. You will have to abide by state limitations on the amount of cannabis you can buy and own during any given period, but it is legal for you to do so. No, it is not legal for you to possess recreational marijuana, the difference being that recreational users have no treatable medical condition that would be improved by using cannabis. In addition, if you are caught in possession of 20 grams or 25 pounds of cannabis, it will be considered a prosecutable felony.
Marijuana Laws in Florida: Timeline
Here is a brief timeline of how marijuana laws have been enacted in Florida, right up to the present time:
- 1978 – the Therapeutic Research Program allows physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from cancer or glaucoma. This program was halted in 1984, and replaced by a more comprehensive enactment.
- 1991 – a court case ruled in favor of two AIDS patients who were able to prove that they required medical marijuana to help combat symptoms of their disease, and that no other treatment was available at the time.
- 2012 – a bill was proposed for the approval of medical marijuana, including the cultivation and sale at approved dispensaries. Ultimately, the bill was killed in committee, and no further action was taken.
- 2014 – the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was finally passed, allowing the legal sale of low-THC cannabis in a non-smokable form. The law specified that the THC content had to be less than .3% and the CBD content had to be greater than 10%.
- 2015 – state laws were changed to allow authorities to simply cite marijuana owners instead of arresting them.
- 2017 – the Medical Marijuana Act was amended to include more qualifying medical conditions.
- 2019 – Senate Bill #182 was passed by the state legislature, allowing medical marijuana registrants to purchase smokable marijuana from approved dispensaries.
How Can I Buy Cannabis Legally in Florida?
As a Florida resident, people will be allowed to purchase as much as 2.5 ounces of cannabis within any 35-day period, and cannot have more than 4 ounces of smokable flower in their possession during that same timeframe. Participating physicians can recommend lower amounts, but are prohibited from prescribing greater amounts under Florida law. There are currently almost 500 medical marijuana dispensaries active in the state, and as long as you possess a medical marijuana card, you can purchase your limit at any one of them.
At the forefront of the medical marijuana program in the state is MMJ Health, which is an organization that can help you acquire your marijuana card by connecting you with a physician specializing in this kind of care. MMJ Health is also a premier dispensary offering the best in CBD products, and this is something that has provided a great deal of relief to patients suffering from chronic pain conditions, epilepsy, anxiety, or high levels of stress. Patients who take CBD oil have also been able to sleep better at night, because much of their anxiety has been dissipated and they are more relaxed. If you would like to qualify for a medical marijuana card, you can begin the process by contacting someone at MMJ Health using this contact form.
Restrictions on Cannabis in Florida
First of all, it is still illegal to use marijuana for recreational purposes in Florida, so the only patients who can legally possess it are those who are registered medical marijuana users. In order to be approved as a medical marijuana user, you must be suffering from some medical condition such as epilepsy, glaucoma, cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, PTSD, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, or Crohn’s Disease. It’s also illegal for individuals or businesses to cultivate cannabis, since at present, it can only be grown by state-licensed cultivators. In order to purchase medical marijuana, you will have to be at least 21 years of age in Florida, in addition to having one of the qualifying medical conditions.
Purchasing and using cannabis in the state of Florida is still only permissible if you register as a medical marijuana patient under the state system for it. If you do obtain a medical marijuana card, you’ll be able to make purchases and consume your cannabis to relieve pain, get better sleep, or to help alleviate any ongoing stress or anxiety you’re feeling. As long as you do this withing current state guidelines and laws, you’ll have no trouble with any purchases or consumption of medical marijuana.