Medical marijuana is allowed in some instances in Florida – provided a licensed physician recommends it. You need a registry identification card to purchase marijuana in the state. Recreational marijuana sales, use, and possession remain illegal in the state.
In 2014, Florida approved the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act that allowed seriously ill patients in the state (suffering from epilepsy or cancer) to use low-THC cannabis. Consequently, the Florida Department of Health established an Office of Compassionate Use to manage the medical cannabis program.
In 2015, the Florida Right to Try Act came into law. It allowed physicians to provide experimental medicines and treatments not approved by the FDA to seriously ill patients. In 2016, the law added low-THC and medicinal cannabis to the approved experimental drugs thanks to HB 307.
On November 8, 2016, Florida voters then passed Amendment 2 (Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative) that expanded the legalized medical cannabis and the list of qualifying conditions. It also established the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, which transitioned from OCU. The OMMU regulates Florida’s medical cannabis program.
Purchasing Cannabis in Florida
The basics of a marijuana license in Florida require a registry identification card to allow qualified patients to purchase medical marijuana for personal use. You can present this special ID card at any approved MMTC when making a purchase. Law enforcement uses these cards to verify that the holder is a legal patient registered at the statewide database.
You must also purchase all medical marijuana products from a licensed MMTC, so it’s still illegal to buy from black markets, such as street vendors. Some MMTC locations offer delivery services. You can buy a 35-day supply of smokable flowers or a 70-day supply of cannabis forms at a time.
Marijuana and related delivery devices are exempt from state sales tax. Additionally, retail, distribution, storage, and delivery of medical marijuana are also exempt from the state sales tax. Licensed MMTCs can deliver to registered patients anywhere across the state, but delivery fees apply, depending on the supplier.
As a Florida patient, you usually cannot use your card in other states, although some honor out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
How to Find a Licensed Dispensary in Florida
As a marijuana caregiver or registry cardholder, you can find a licensed dispensary in Florida by doing an online search or through a recommendation from a trusted source. You can search online by major metro areas such as Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Many offer curbside pickup and delivery services on top of storefront sales.
Possessing and Consuming Cannabis in Florida
You cannot consume medical marijuana in public spaces, such as:
- On school campus
- Aboard a Public bus, motor vehicle, train, aircraft, or watercraft
All consumption must occur in a private residence. Also, driving under the influence (DUI) of medical marijuana is illegal.
You can consume marijuana in one of the following ways:
- Spray oils
Patients under 18 years cannot smoke medical marijuana unless they have a terminal condition diagnosis from at least two board-certified physicians.
Florida defines cannabis as either medical marijuana or low-THC cannabis. To qualify as low-THC, the cannabis plant’s flowers, resin, seeds, and other products should contain 0.8 or fewer THC levels and more than 10% of CBD (cannabidiol) by weight.
Patients and their legal representatives must not possess over 70 days-worth of cannabis supply at any given time. Also, all marijuana products you purchase must remain in their original packaging. As a patient, you cannot buy more than 35-days-worth of cannabis or over four ounces of smokable marijuana at a time.
Finally, you cannot transfer medical marijuana for any other purpose other than a legal representative purchasing and delivering to a designated patient.
The Bottom Line
Florida has legalized medical marijuana, but you need a registry card to purchase and use it as a patient. You can only buy cannabis at a licensed MMTC and not from a caregiver or a black market source. Additionally, you can only consume medical marijuana in a private residence and cannot possess more than a specified amount at a time.