LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Florida?
Medical marijuana recommended by a licensed physician is allowed in some instances in Florida. Adult-use (recreational) marijuana sales, possession, and use remain illegal in Florida.
In 2014, the Florida Legislature passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act , allowing 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.
Governor Rick Scott signed the Florida Right to Try Act into law in 2015, allowing physicians to provide experimental treatments or medicines not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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).
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 .
Registry Identification Cards allow patients to purchase medical marijuana. The ID cards must be presented when making a purchase at an approved MMTC. The cards are used by law enforcement and other individuals to verify that a legal patient is a part of the statewide database.
Patients must purchase their products from a licensed MMTC. Some locations offer delivery services. Patients and caregivers can purchase a 35-day supply of smokable flower and a 70-day supply of other cannabis forms, including edibles, at a time.
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 may apply depending on the MMTC.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Florida
Medical marijuana registry cardholders and caregivers can find licensed dispensaries in Florida and search by major metro areas including Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. Many dispensaries in Florida offer delivery and curbside pickup services in addition to storefront sales.
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 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 and a second, board-certified physician concurs 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 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 or caregivers to cultivate marijuana.
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
- 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. 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 physicians on Weedmaps or the Florida Department of Health website .
- 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 into the MMUR and approve an order. Caregivers can be added at this time.
- 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 arrives.
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 arrives.
ID cards are valid for one year after approval.
Florida does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards or patients. It does allow seasonal residents to apply for registry cards.
MMTCs must submit cannabis samples to a licensed lab testing facility. Samples must be tested for:
- Heavy metals
- Moisture and water activity
- Residual solvents
This page was last updated September 25, 2020.
View the cannabis & marijuana laws & regulations for Florida.
Posted by Meital Manzuri, Esq. | Jan 20, 2017 | 7 Comments
As the California legal marijuana marketplace grows, both sellers and consumers are increasingly wondering if it is possible to legally mail marijuana within the United States. The answer is a simple and resounding no. Importantly, this holds true regardless of whether the shipment origin or destination have laws legalizing marijuana. Let’s understand why.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is a Schedule I drug. Schedule 1 controlled substances are those which, in the opinion of the United States government have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.
And when it comes to our country’s mail delivery services, federal law trumps all other laws of the land. As a result, mailing marijuana is illegal across all modes of mail delivery. This includes private carriers such as FedEx and UPS as well as the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Marijuana and the United States Postal Service
Because the USPS is a federal government agency, it must strictly obey federal guidelines. Using the United States Postal Service to mail weed — even within the territorial limits of California (a pot-legal state) — is a felony under 18 U.S. Code 1716.
However, as U.S. postal workers are federal government employees, they need a warrant based on probable cause in order to search a package for drugs. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, “first class letters and parcels are protected against search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and as such, cannot be opened without a search warrant.”
Since the USPS offers some protection against search and seizure, it can understandably seem to be the safest way to ship marijuana. However, if a package seems suspicious, the USPS can get a search warrant. While this might seem like an acceptable risk, the punishment for mailing drugs through the U.S. mail can include up to a year in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Using UPS or FedEx to Ship Marijuana
Using Third-Party Carriers
Unlike the USPS, private third-party carriers – such as UPS, FedEx and DHL – are not federal agencies. As such, they do not even have to obtain a warrant to search a suspicious package.
Indeed, the Supreme Court has ruled that giving your package to a third-party “removes any reasonable expectation of privacy.” This means that private carriers have the right to open and inspect any package at their own discretion.
Furthermore, large private carriers have affirmed over and over again their willingness to cooperate with federal law enforcement in cracking down on illegal drug trafficking via mail.
For example, in 2014 FedEx was indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances by transporting illegal painkillers and other prescription drugs. And in 2013, UPS paid $40 million to settle a federal probe into shipping drugs from illegal online pharmacies. Though neither of these cases involved cannabis, it shows how big the incentive is for private carriers such as UPS and FedEx to monitor packages for illegal drugs.
Risks of Shipping Weed by Mail
There risks of mailing marijuana are significant. For one thing, you can be charged under either federal law or the law of the state in which the cannabis shipment originated or the state to which it was delivered. Furthermore, charges will be compounded for interstate trafficking as well as based on the quantity of the marijuana. And under federal guidelines, mailing as little as 50 grams or less of marijuana can land in the federal penitentiary for up to five years.
Worsening matters, USPS and private carriers’ employees are offered a “reward” of up to $50,000 for information leading to convictions of persons mailing illegal substances. Even if you are only the recipient of the package, if you knowingly receive marijuana in the mail, your participation in the shipment is enough for you to be charged with conspiracy to distribute an illegal substance.
In sum, postal services are not drug mules. With the rise in the number of states legalizing marijuana, the DEA is now more than ever keeping a close eye on the shipment of packages across the country.
Yes — it is possible to transport your marijuana via mail. It happens every day and people get away with it. But remember, you’re playing the odds. The best advice we can give our clients is not to use the mail to ship your pot. At the very least, mail no more than 28 grams – California’s limit on recreational marijuana possession – and only within the borders of California.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.
Legally-Blunt Posted by Meital Manzuri, Esq. | Jan 20, 2017 | 7 Comments As the California legal marijuana marketplace grows, both sellers and consumers are increasingly wondering if it is