Steve DiGioia

Navigating Florida’s Cannabis Laws: Understanding Legal Boundaries and Regulations

navigating-floridas-cannabis-laws-understanding-legal-boundaries-and-regulations

Cannabis is a widely recognized plant that offers numerous applications and benefits.

However, regulations regarding the possession and consumption of marijuana vary across different states in the United States. In this post, we will explore the current legal status of cannabis in Florida and provide you with the necessary information to consume it in accordance with the law.

Florida Has Legalized the Use of Medical Marijuana

It’s important to note that Florida offers a program to provide medical marijuana to those in need.

This indicates that individuals with specific medical conditions can obtain a note from a qualified doctor and register with the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) in order to purchase cannabis products from authorized dispensaries.

Here are some medical problems that may be relevant:

  • ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease 
  • Cancer 
  • Crohn’s disease  
  • Epilepsy 
  • Glaucoma 
  • AIDS and HIV 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Parkinson’s Disease 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

A chronic illness diagnosed by a different doctor than the one who provided the medical certification.

Persistent pain resulting from a legitimate medical condition that is not cancer-related. Health issues resembling the ones mentioned earlier.

Steps to Get Medical Marijuana in Florida

  • It seems like you have some connection to Florida, either as a resident or a frequent visitor. 
  • Ensure that you are at least 18 years old (or have obtained permission from a legal parent). 
  • Have a medical issue that meets the criteria. 
  • Obtain a written certificate from a qualified physician. 
  • Obtain an ID card from the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. 
  • Please submit a payment of $75 for the application fee. 
  • Receive a fresh card annually.

Medical marijuana is easily accessible at Florida’s 450+ dispensaries. With just your card, you can order by phone or online for home delivery. 

Florida regulations govern the quantity and type of medical marijuana permitted. The OMMU sets limits on smokable weed and other cannabis products individuals can possess.

Public use of medical marijuana, including in vehicles, is prohibited; ensure consumption is in a private setting.

Recreational Marijuana Remains Illegal in Florida

navigating-floridas-cannabis-laws-understanding-legal-boundaries-and-regulations
A worker inspects flowering cannabis plants in a greenhouse at a Cresco Labs Inc. facility in Indiantown, Florida, U.S., on Monday, March 28, 2022.

It’s important to note that recreational marijuana use is still prohibited in Florida.

It is important to note that without a medical marijuana card, individuals are not authorized to possess, use, purchase, sell, or produce any amount of cannabis in the state.

The penalties for violating Florida’s recreational marijuana laws can be quite harsh and differ based on the quantity and intent. Here are a few examples:

1.) Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana carries a misdemeanor charge, with penalties including up to one year in prison, a $1000 fine, and driver’s license suspension.

2.) Possession of over 20 grams of marijuana results in a criminal charge, with potential punishments of up to five years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and driver’s license suspension.

3.) Selling or transporting marijuana weighing 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $1000 fine, and driver’s license suspension.

4.) Selling or delivering more than 20 grams of marijuana is a crime that can lead to up to 15 years in jail, a $10,000 fine, and driver’s license suspension.

5.) Growing any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to 15 years in jail, a $10,000 fine, and driver’s license suspension.

6.) Trafficking 25 pounds or more of marijuana results in a criminal charge with a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in jail, a fine of up to $25,000, and driver’s license suspension.

7.) Florida’s recreational marijuana regulations are strict, with significant consequences. Therefore, using cannabis without a medical marijuana certificate in the state is highly risky.

Decriminalization of Marijuana in Certain Florida Areas

In Florida, some towns and counties have decriminalized small marijuana possession. Instead of facing arrest and criminal prosecution, you may receive a civil ticket or fine. 

However, this doesn’t legalize marijuana; it just means lighter penalties for minor offenses. State law still applies, and you can be detained and punished by state or federal authorities if caught with marijuana.

Marijuana possession penalties vary by city and county in Florida. For instance, in Orlando, possessing up to 20 grams incurs a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine or 15 hours of community service for the second.

In Miami-Dade County, the penalty is a $100 fine or two days of community service. However, other factors such as officer discretion, presence of other drugs or weapons, location, and criminal history can influence enforcement.

Therefore, it’s advised to avoid possessing or using marijuana in any amount in Florida unless you have a valid medical marijuana card.

Florida’s Marijuana Legalization Efforts and Future Prospects

Legalizing weed in Florida remains uncertain. Various attempts, like Make It Legal Florida and managed Florida, aimed to legalize marijuana but fell short of gathering enough signatures for the 2022 ballot.

Despite these setbacks, efforts to change laws persist, with 59% of Floridians in favor of recreational marijuana legalization.

While Florida might eventually join other states in legalizing weed, it’s crucial to adhere to current regulations until then.

 

Read also: Surviving Texas Snowstorms: Essential Tips for Safety and Warmth

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