Florida Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Florida?
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Florida Law: 

StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD
FloridaNo YesYes

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Florida?

No. Recreational use of Cannabis is illegal in Florida. However, certain cities and counties have enacted reforms. 

The cities/counties listed below have decriminalized and lessened penalties for those found with up to 20 grams of cannabis: 

  • Alachua County
  • Broward County
  • Cocoa Beach
  • Hallandale Beach
  • Key West
  • Miami Beach
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Palm Beach County
  • Port Richey
  • Orlando
  • Osceola County
  • Sarasota
  • Tampa
  • Volusia County
  • West Palm Beach 

As of 2021, both a democrat and republican state representative have filed separate bills that would “establish a robust and free-market regulatory approach to the governance of cultivation, processing, and retail sales of both medical and adult-use marijuana.”

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Florida?

Yes. CBD oil was first approved for patients with specific illnesses under the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act” in 2014. Later, with the passing of a constitutional Amendment 2, full-strength medical marijuana became legal for certified patients who suffer from debilitating conditions in 2016. 

MMJ initiatives continue to progress patients’ rights such as:

  • *SB182 allows patients to order up to 210 days of supply at a time vs. the previous 70-day limit. 
  • *HB 7107, which changed cannabidiol’s (CBD) classification, certain CBD based drugs were then approved for minors with epilepsy.  

As of August 2020, the Florida Department of Health officially approved THC-infused cannabis edibles’ production standards. The new rules allow Florida licensed marijuana dispensaries to “sell THC-infused edible products like lozenges, baked goods, gelatins, chocolates or drink powders.” 

What’s Florida’s medical marijuana sales tax?

0%. Florida MMJ patient’s purchases of medical marijuana are exempt from sales and use tax.

Are CBD products legal in Florida? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States; as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

Florida’s Cannabis Timeline:

1933: Florida’s Victor Lacata case became a major key in cannabis prohibition in the state due to police and the press making untrue claims that Lacata (who murdered his family) was “addicted” to marijuana. 

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth”.) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins”.

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2014: Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, The bill passed, allowed for the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil with patients with Qualifying conditions such as epilepsy and cancer.

2016: Florida’s Right To Try Act expanded the ability for patients with terminal illnesses to try scheduled drugs such as cannabis. 

2016: The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Amendment 2, is an approved amendment allowing medical marijuana as a treatment for patients if their physician believes that the use would outweigh the potential health risks for the patient. 

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

2020: Licensed Florida medical marijuana patients may legally purchase and ingest edibles as a form of treatment.

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