From the beaches and tropical weather to the theme parks and tourist attractions, the state of Florida has a lot to offer. The densely populated state is also the second most visited in the United States, after California. You might be a born and raised Floridian. Perhaps you're a potential or current retiree looking to enjoy the palm trees and ocean breeze. Maybe you're a young spring breaker or a family on vacation headed south to the coast. Whatever the case, you may be asking: Is it legal to smoke weed in Florida? Along with the rest of the country, Florida has seen changes to its marijuana policy in recent years, so it is important to know the laws and regulations of both recreational and medical marijuana if you find yourself in the Sunshine State.
Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Florida?
Following the trend of other states in the southern part of the United States, recreational marijuana is illegal in Florida. The state has yet to pass any sort of legalization that allows for any person of any age to use marijuana, including smoking and other forms. Contrary to some beliefs, the city of Orlando is not exempt from this, and there are penalties across the state for those who use recreationally.
Someone possessing 20 grams or less of weed can be charged with a misdemeanor and up to one year in jail with a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of any amount larger than that carries a felony charge and between there and 30 years of incarceration, plus fines between $5,000 and $200,000, with added punishment if the offense occurs within 1000 feet of a public area like a school or a park.
Selling marijuana in Florida carries mostly the same penalties as for possession, with 20 grams or less charged as a misdemeanor and anything larger landing a felony charge.
Possession, sale, manufacture, or delivery of hash and concentrates will be charged as a felony, with up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000. Any marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor offense with one year of jail time and up to $1,000 fine. For a complete breakdown of penalties in Florida for illegal recreational use of marijuana, check out Norml's guide.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Florida?
According to Leafbuyer's Florida guide, medical marijuana has been legal in Florida since 2014. It was legalized by an act called the 2014 Compassionate Use of Low-THC and Medical Cannabis Act, also called the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 or the "Charlotte's Web" bill. (Charlotte's Web is a strain of cannabis—for more information on different strains, consult Leafbuyer.) Florida law has evolved since the initial legalization, passing Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Act, in 2017 to expand the qualifying medical conditions.
The following conditions could now qualify you to apply to be a medical marijuana patient in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
- 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 or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition
Potential patients with any of the illnesses listed above must be Florida residents and be recommended by medical professionals. Those under 18 are eligible to apply, but a parent or legal guardian must be a caregiver for the young patient. Registered medical marijuana patients are added to Florida's Compassionate Use Registry, where they can then be verified by the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use and receive a card with which to purchase medical marijuana.
How Much Medical Marijuana Can I Get, and Where?
The regulations surrounding amount prescribed have changed over the years; Leafbuyer says that the aforementioned Amendment 2 "defines the amount of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patient’s medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use." A 70-day supply has become standard.
It is illegal in the state of Florida to grow your own marijuana, in any amount. You must have a licensed cultivation facility to grow.
If you are a medical patient in search of a dispensary, Leafbuyer offers a location guide. At this time, it is still best to pay in cash at Florida weed dispensaries.
What Else Should I Know?
Marijuana cannot be consumed in public.
Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of weed is illegal in all senses.
Delivery is legal in Florida from dispensary to patient or from caregiver to patient.
Employers and workplaces are not required to allow the use of medical marijuana, even for registered patients.
Florida may follow states like Colorado and California and legalize recreational weed in the future, but no policy has yet been solidified.