Can You Grow Weed in Florida?

“I think the court is going to approve that.”
Florida RX Dco 240314 02
March 12, 2024 • 5 Min Read
Understanding Cannabis Legislation in the Sunshine State

Florida may be known for its oranges, but it’s not green yet.

Mickey Mouse, like other Floridians, awaits an upcoming Florida Supreme Court decision on an adult-use marijuana legalization initiative. Currently he and his fellow Florida state residents have access only to medical marijuana and only with a state-licensed Medical Marijuana ID Card.

Unlike the lines at Disney though, the wait shouldn’t be long now…at least for the right to let your vote be counted in Florida’s cannabis future! Residents could see recreational marijuana on the ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment as soon as November 5, 2024.

The Deets on Florida’s (Possible) Legalization Vote in 2024
Pending the upcoming Florida Supreme Court decision, the Sunshine State would join 11 states in the union who could potentially legalize marijuana this year through the November ballot. After a legal challenge to the ballot language summary from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a court decision green lighting the amendment proposal is now due by April 1, 2024.

So, coming soon on April Fool’s Day, Mickey and friends will know if they can vote for legalization in November and though it is still uncertain which way the court will lean, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently been quoted as saying, “I think the court is going to approve that.”

If no decision is handed down by the April deadline, the measure would then be cleared for ballot the following year. If green lit by the court in April as expected, the initiative would be featured alongside the Presidential election on the state’s November 2024 ballot. Court approval would give voters the power to decide the issue on the very same day they will choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump for President of the United States.

Goofy, get out the vote because on November 5 in Florida, voters could have the opportunity to shape the future of cannabis policy in the state with a ballot measure that seeks to authorize adult-use for people 21 and over, allowing individuals without a Medical Marijuana Card to legally use, purchase, and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana.

Under the proposed amendment, not only will individuals aged 21+ be allowed to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and accessories, but Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers and other state-licensed entities will be granted the authority to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute adult-use marijuana products.

But don’t spark one up in celebration too fast on election night! Even if the referendum passes in November with the 60% supermajority vote required, legalization is potentially a long way from done and won so keep it cool and hang on to your hat Goofy! It could still be a long while before you can light up or grow weed for recreation without fear of criminal repercussion! After a winning vote, the state legislature will go on to determine exactly how the law will be implemented and can make regulations on potency, marketing, purchasing quantity, and more. Not only is that bureaucratic process far from immediate and straightforward, but potential legal challenges are also likely to interrupt codification and delay implementation in the courts.

So, What IS Legal in Florida?

The Deets on Florida Cannabis Use & Possession in 2024

Like so many states in the union, Florida criminalized cannabis in the early 20th century but in 2016, reform began. With a 71% majority, voters approved Amendment 2 legalizing medical marijuana in the state. As of today, as outlined in Chapter 381 in Florida Statutes, marijuana is only legal in the state of Florida once a person has obtained official Medical Marijuana Use Authorization.

Medical Cannabis Has a Green Light in the Sunshine State

Under the auspices of the Florida Department of Health, Florida’s medical marijuana program allows people with a wide range of medical conditions including cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, chronic pain, and more to obtain medical cannabis recommendations for therapeutic purposes from licensed physicians. Once approved, in order to purchase products from state-licensed medical dispensaries, patients must pay $75 for a Medical Marijuana Card which must be renewed yearly for a $75 fee, within 45 days of expiration.

Cardholders can purchase a variety of cannabis products including flower, concentrates, edibles, tinctures and topicals from state-licensed medical dispensaries who are allowed to sell cannabis flower between 20% and 30% THC.

And though registered cardholders can purchase in the state, that does not qualify them to cultivate marijuana for even their own personal medical use.

A FL Beach Vacation Does NOT Include Recreational Cannabis

All adult-use marijuana is currently illegal in Florida and is still a punishable crime. Recreational cannabis remains illegal in Florida with all possession, cultivation, and distribution for non-medical purposes prohibited by law. Depending on the severity of the offense, violations can result in criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment.

Paraphernalia and the possession or sale of up to 20 grams of marijuana are misdemeanor offenses for anyone without a card. Though some municipalities in the state have implemented reforms that reduce penalties, offenders face the potential of up to 1 year of jail time, fines of up to $1000, and suspension of their driver’s license.

Possession or sale of more than 20 grams without a card becomes a felony with incarceration times that can reach 30 years and fines as high as $200,000. Likewise, possession within 1,000 feet of a school, college, or park is considered a felony with a mandatory three-year sentence and fines of up to $10,000.

It May Be the Sunshine State, But NO You Can’t Grow Plants

In the Sunshine State, unless you are a “vertically integrated” licensed medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) responsible for growing, processing, and dispensing medical-grade marijuana, it is illegal to own or cultivate marijuana plants, or lease or operate a grow house for personal or commercial purposes.

Since Amendment 2, Florida has mandated that only state-sanctioned MMTCs are permitted to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes and each MMTC must receive authorization at all three stages from seed to sale: (1) cultivation authorization, (2) processing authorization, and (3) dispensing authorization, prior to dispensing low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers.

For Florida residents, marijuana cultivation is considered a third-degree felony which carries a maximum jail sentence of 5 years as well as a $5000 maximum fine. If found in actual or constructive possession of a grow house with more than 25 cannabis plants, the charge can become a second-degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and if minors are residing at the location, the offense may be classed as a first-degree felony.

But come on, what about CBD?
With some restrictions, CBD is legal in Florida.

In 2019 the state updated CBD laws to align with the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and its extracts. As a hemp-derived cannabinoid, CBD was no longer a controlled substance. Now anyone aged 21+ could buy CBD products derived from hemp with the stipulation that no more than 0.5mg THC is present per serving or 2mg of total THC per package. And while there is no limit to how much one may have, the state has recently cracked down on producers of CBD products with colorful, mascot-covered packaging potentially aimed at children.

Likewise, because it too is produced from CBD extracted from hemp, delta-8 THC products are also legal under the Farm Bill and hence, legal in the state of Florida.

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