Is marijuana legal in Florida?

Marijuana is not 100% legal in Florida - yet.  On March 18, 2019, however, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 182 governing medical use of marijuana into law.  Florida Statute section 381.986 allows use of marijuana dispensed from (1) a "medical marijuana treatment center" (2) for "medical use" (3) by a "qualified patient."


For more information about the procedure to obtain a registry identification card, please visit Florida's Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use.


Qualified patients must present their registry identification card upon request to a law enforcement officer, and the state also places restrictions on where qualified patients may smoke.  §§ 381.986(12)(c), (e)1., F.S.  Any person who possesses or manufactures a blank, forged, stolen, fictitious, fraudulent, counterfeit, or otherwise unlawfully issued medical marijuana use registry identification card commits a felony of the third degree.  § 381.986(12)(l), F.S.


Absent authorization under the medical marijuana law, the following still apply:


Possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. §§ 893.03(1)(c), 893.13(6)(b), F.S. (Misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail/$1,000 fine.)  (In Gainesville, these are typically handled by diversion.) 


Selling, manufacturing, delivering, possessing 20 grams or more, or possessing with such intent anything less than a trafficking (see below) amount is a third-degree felony.  §§ 893.13(1)(a)2., (6)(a), F.S.  (Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison/$5,000 fine.). If done, however, within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, or a public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight, or at any time in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a state, county, or municipal park, a community center, or a publicly owned recreational facility, it's a second-degree felony (punishable by up to 15 years in prison/$10,000 fine).


Knowingly selling, purchasing, manufacturing, delivering, bringing into the state or possessing more than either 25 pounds of cannabis, or 300 or more cannabis plants is a first-degree felony ("trafficking") with escalating sentencing provisions beginning at a mandatory minimum 3 years prison/$25,000 fine. § 893.135(1)(a), F.S.


However, the July 1, 2019 passage of § 581.217, Florida Statutes, which now defines hemp (a low-THC form of cannabis with similar appearance and smell as regular cannabis) as an agricultural commodity, and also removed hemp-derived cannabinoids from the definition of controlled substances, has resulted in significant problems in arrests and prosecution of these cases.  Importantly, this law also brought Florida in line with federal law following passage of the Farm Bill last year, which made legal CBD oil containing not more than 0.3% THC.


Disclaimer: Although I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. This article is for general informational and educational purposes only and is based on laws existing at the time of writing. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any kind of attorney-client relationship with me or my firm. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.








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