Is Weed Legal in Florida? Plus Florida Weed Laws & Florida Marijuana Legalization Efforts in 2023
Photo by Del Adams
Is Marijuana Officially Legal in Florida?
No, recreational weed is not legal for use in Florida, however several forms of medicinal marijuana have been legalized and made available for purchase at local FL medical marijuana dispensaries. In order to gain access to a dispensary, you must first get your Florida medical marijuana card. Click here to apply for yours!
Florida Marijuana Legislation: How and When Will It Happen?
Cannabis legalization is a major legal hot topic of our time and is in vastly different stages of development throughout the United States. While not much has happened on the federal level with cannabis remaining illegal nationally, states are still individually deciding how they want to establish their marijuana laws.
Many states have approved medical marijuana and some are even expanding to fully legalizing marijuana use. Others have simply decriminalized the possession of cannabis to a misdemeanor. What is the state of weed law in Florida? Is weed legal in Florida? How can Floridians legally purchase cannabis?
Laws regarding cannabis use can be confusing with states like California and Colorado fully embracing cannabis and states like Idaho and South Carolina retaining marijuana’s illegal status. The rest of the United States falls somewhere in the middle.
Where does Florida stand on medical marijuana? Recreational marijuana? The legalization of weed in Florida may seem inevitable given the wide adoption of medical marijuana in Florida. After all, with over 500 dispensaries throughout Florida you would think recreational legalization would be inevitable. And yet, efforts to legalize recreational cannabis have repeatedly failed.
This post will offer a clear picture of the legal state of cannabis in the Sunshine State, what to expect, and how to navigate Florida’s cannabis laws. If you’re curious about how to get your medical marijuana card in Florida, click here for simple instructions and to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
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How Do Cannabis Laws Work?
These days, cannabis law is not quite as simple as legal and illegal. The laws governing cannabis can be confusing with subtle changes needed to be made to various state laws and departments in order to allow for legal cannabis sales.
Simply put, there are three forms of cannabis legalization:
- Decriminalization – This lowers the penalties for marijuana possession. While not quite legalized, it does reduce cannabis possession from a felony to a lesser infraction.
- Medical Marijuana – This legalizes cannabis as a treatment for various illnesses that are often decided by the state. The state can even limit how you consume cannabis.
- Recreational Cannabis – This legalizes cannabis across the board and turns it from a controlled substance to regulated substance on par with cigarettes and alcohol.
For more information on how cannabis is legalized throughout the United States check out this helpful post that outlines how these laws change.
The History of Florida Weed Laws
The history of Florida weed law has been somewhat slow to expand. In 2014, Senate Bill 1030 a.k.a. The “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act” was passed which legally allowed physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients.
This law also established regulations for cannabis use like creating the Office of Compassionate Use, outlined who could cultivate and dispense the low-THC cannabis, and how it could be prescribed.
In 2015, House Bill 307 was drafted then signed into law in 2016. This expanded the state’s use of cannabis to terminally ill patients, created laws governing the testing of the low-THC cannabis products, and regulated the use of delivery services.
In 2016, Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization, Amendment 2 passed which expanded medical marijuana from low-THC cannabis to allowing medical cannabis for qualified patients. While it did allow for patients to consume cannabis with higher THC levels, the law did not allow for smoking, cannabis could only be consumed as edibles or by vaping, oils, sprays, or pills.
In 2018, the ban on smoking cannabis was deemed unconstitutional and in 2019, SB 182 was passed. This legislation clarified some of the language and liability for delivery services, redefined the term “medical use,” and allowed for the smoking of cannabis.
Florida weed laws regarding medical marijuana seem to have established a workable system but the dialogue is quickly shifting to recreational legalization which has not quite found footing in Florida.
The Future of Weed Legalization in Florida
Like many other states that have legalized medical cannabis there have been various attempts to legalize cannabis outright in Florida. Multiple bills have been introduced to try and make cannabis legal recreationally. In 2021 two separate ballot measures were introduced but both failed to make it into law due to somewhat questionable language.
There’s currently a Smart & Safe Florida initiative which is striving to legalize recreational cannabis. It’s a legal push to help establish a cannabis industry in Florida and has received over a million signatures. This still has the potential to be passed into law and its likely laws will continue to be introduced to attempt to have Florida join other states with statewide legal cannabis.
The next step would be the approval of this initiative to be voted on as a ballot measure. As of November 2023, the Florida Supreme Court began hearing arguments to decide if they will approve the addition of a ballot measure to the 2024 general election ballot.
Some states legalize cannabis by laws passed in the state legislature and others do it by a general vote by the public. For example, Ohio has legalized recreational cannabis by putting it in voter hands. If approved by the Supreme Court Florida weed legalization would be decided by residents voting in their local election.
Is Weed Illegal In Florida?
The language can always be confusing. Despite laws approving medical marijuana and attempts to push for recreational use, cannabis still remains illegal. Outside of the various laws and regulations governing medical cannabis, it’s illegal to possess, grow and distribute cannabis. We’ll review some of the regulations of medical use later in this article.
Is Weed Decriminalized In Florida?
Given the national push towards decriminalizing cannabis and rewriting cannabis laws, some popular areas of Florida have decided to decriminalize cannabis use and possession. While cannabis used outside of a medical approval by an approved doctor remains illegal the degree has changed.
In 2015, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West, and West Palm Beach all passed decriminalization ordinances that allowed for civil citations to be issued for possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis. In such cases, violators would face small fines and many areas established a pricing structure for multiple offenses.
In 2016, Tampa, Orlando, Volusia County, Osceola County, Alachua County, and Port Richey also approved decriminalization efforts establishing their own pricing structure for offenders. In 2019, Cocoa Beach and Sarasota also established similar decriminalization structures.
Currently, these are the only areas known to have decriminalized cannabis possession. Be sure to check your local area’s laws and regulations to ensure you’re following the letter of the law and avoiding any major issues regarding a cannabis-based crime.
Is Marijuana Legal In Florida?
Currently, marijuana is only legal in Florida for qualified medical patients. Recreational cannabis retains its illegal placement as a controlled substance. It still remains illegal and possession and distribution are still criminal offenses in many cities in Florida.
Additionally, medical marijuana laws are fairly stringent and require a certain amount of bureaucracy. In the following section, we’ll review the laws and regulations for medical marijuana use to ensure you’re using it legally.
Florida Medical Marijuana Laws to Know
Medical marijuana in Florida is governed by The Florida Department of Health
Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). You’re required to not only see a doctor you also have to submit an application to join the registry. The office accepts applications from both patients and caregivers.
Patients must formally be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician to receive a card they can use to purchase cannabis as dispensaries. Applications may be submitted online through the Medical Marijuana Use Registry or mailed to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
There is a fee for applications that’s $75 and patients must submit this fee. For help with applications click here.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal In Florida?
Medical marijuana is legal in Florida but only for qualified patients. In addition to joining the Medical Marijuana Use Registry you must meet some set criteria.
A qualified patient must:
- Be a permanent or seasonal Florida resident
- Be 18 and over
- Be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a qualified physician
- Be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry
- Obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card
To obtain a medical marijuana prescription under 18 you require the approval of two doctors and your parent or guardian’s consent.
Part of the laws governing medical marijuana limit the medical conditions that are approved for cannabis. In Florida, the conditions under which one can receive a medical marijuana prescription are:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic, nonmalignant pain
- Crohn’s disease
- HIV and AIDS
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other conditions within the same classification as those above
- Other terminal conditions, even if they were diagnosed by a doctor besides the doctor providing certification
Photo by Prathyusha Mettupalle
What Is it Like to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Florida?
Getting your medical card may seem a bit daunting at first, however, the process is fairly simple especially with help from Green Health Docs. We streamline the process. Here’s what to expect when getting your medical marijuana card in Florida.
- Schedule your appointment with a Green Health Docs provider. Doctors are readily available. Telemedicine appointments are available 6-7 days per week. You can typically schedule your appointment for the same week and potentially even the same day.
- Meet with your provider. If approved, given your medical condition, you will be uploaded into the state registry within 24-48 hours.
- Once entered into the stateregistry, you will receive a follow-up email to set-up your account. You’ll receive a username, temporary password and a link to complete your registration. The state typically approves registration applications within 7-14 business days.
- Once your registration has been approved, the state will then issue a physical ID card and mail it to you. This typically takes up to 7-10 business days to arrive.
- Once you have your physical card in hand you can access dispensaries.
The total time frame from your appointment to having your card can be anywhere from 14-27 business days from your appointment date.
Does Florida Accept Out-Of-State Medical Cards as of 2023?
You may wonder if Florida offers reciprocity and will let you use your out-of-state medical card while in Florida. Sadly, Florida does not accept out-of-state medical cards. Again, Florida medical marijuana law requires you to be listed in their registry to use Floridian dispensaries.
Can You Legally Grow Weed In Florida?
Currently, even patients are not legally allowed to grow cannabis plants.
Are Edibles Legal In Florida?
Edibles still remain illegal and are a controlled substance in Florida. You can only purchase and consume edibles if you have the medical approval to do so. If you’re caught possessing marijuana you do run the risk of being charged as a felony if you are in an area where weed has not been decriminalized.
A person caught without a prescription in possession of marijuana in the form of an edible or a vape is at risk of being charged with a felony offense pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a) and §893.03(1)(b)(190).
The Future of Florida Recreational Weed
In 2021, the Florida Supreme Court struck down two separate initiatives: one by the group Sensible Florida and the other by Make It Legal after finding the wording of the legislation to be too vague and misleading.
Given the number of attempts to pass recreational cannabis, advocates of legalization are learning what can and cannot be passed in Florida. The state may also be swayed by the potential financial boon of tax dollars from legalized cannabis. However, only time will tell.
The current group pushing for legalization Smart & Safe Florida has up-to-date information on their push for legalization.
Florida residents will be able to vote on recreational marijuana on the ballot in Florida on Nov. 5, 2024. It will be listed as an initiated constitutional amendment
Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Florida?
While Floridians cannot legally use cannabis without a medical license, delta-8 and delta-10 THC products remain legal. Similar to traditional THC but less potent products with these chemically variant versions of THC, which are cultivated from federally legal hemp, are legal.
Florida residents can purchase, possess, use and distribute products made using these different versions of THC. That being said, users should be cautious as there’s not significant regulation and testing of some of these products and they can have chemical remnants or byproducts that can cause illness or undesired effects.
Cannabis legalization can be nuanced and confusing so it’s important to be aware of the laws of your state. In Florida, you can only legally use medical marijuana if you are a qualified patient and have an active card with the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU).
This requires you to meet with a state-approved doctor to receive your formal diagnosis. This can be challenging or time consuming. Luckily, you can quickly and easily make an appointment with a doctor and get your medical marijuana card with our help. Click here to begin the process of obtaining your medical card today.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.