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Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Florida
Is marijuana legal in Florida?Since 2014, low-THC marijuana has been legal on extremely limited medical grounds in Florida. In 2016, the voters decided to greatly expand the program, ultimately ensuring patients better access to full-THC cannabis products, as well as other various regulatory concessions.
Where are the dispensaries?Dispensaries have been licensed and authorized on a limited basis. Currently, there are seven medical marijuana organizations in the state, each covering a specific county or geographic area. They are:
- Alachua County (x2)
- Gadsden County
- Hillsborough County
- Miami-Dade County
- Orange County
- Polk County
Are they medical or recreational dispensaries?All licensed marijuana dispensing facilities are patient-only medical dispensaries. The state has yet to pass legislation allowing the adult use of marijuana. There have been two petitions filed to legalize recreational marijuana use in the 2018 election cycle, and each must get hundreds of thousands of signatures within the next year to be eligible for the ballot.
Who can be a medical patient in Florida?In order to be certified for the medical use of marijuana, you must be a Florida resident. Then, after you are under the direct care of a state-certified physician for at least three months, the physician can issue a certification for medical marijuana and enter you into the Compassionate Use Registry. Right now, only the following illnesses have been recognized as eligible for treatment with medical marijuana:
- Positive status for HIV/ AIDS
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
How do I become a medical patient in Florida?Florida requires the ordering physician to register every patient they certify onto the Compassionate Use Registry, but before they may, the physician must verify that you:
- Have an approved disease or condition
- Have tried other treatments with little success
- Are a Florida resident
Where can I smoke?Smoking is not currently allowed under the 2014 Compassionate Use of Low-THC and Medical Cannabis Act. In addition to making full-THC cannabis available to more than the terminally ill, Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Act, sought to remove the restriction on smoking from the program.
How much does marijuana cost in Florida?The slow roll-out of the regulatory framework expected across the state includes a lag in pricing details. From what we could gather, patients can expect to spend around $10-$20 per day on medication. The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimates patients pay, on average, $0.15 per milligram of THC or CBD.
How much marijuana can I buy and possess in Florida?Under the 2014 Compassionate Use of Low-THC and Medical Cannabis Act, the recommending physician was the individual who placed the order from an approved medical dispensary. The language of Amendment 2 ordered the creation of a regulation "that 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."
In January 2017, the Department of Health proposed clarifications of this to mean a 45 day supply.
Can I grow marijuana? How many plants?Florida does not currently allow patients to grow their own marijuana, despite the current scarcity of dispensing locations around the state.
How do I get a job in the marijuana industry of Florida?It is undetermined at this time, but the Department of Health is working on the regulatory and licensing environment for businesses and their employees. Like caregivers, dispensary employees will likely need be 21 or older and be free of drug-related felony convictions.
Is Drug testing for marijuana legal "in this state?Medical patients are not protected from drug tests and employers are not required to allow the use of medical marijuana on-the-job.
Is Delivery legal?As an effort to expand patient access, delivery from the dispensary to the patient is an option, as is transporting medical cannabis from the caregiver to the patient.
How to pay for marijuana in Florida dispensaries?Florida dispensaries do a majority of sales and financial dealings with cash, a result of the continued federal illegality of cannabis on financial institutions.
Florida Marijuana Laws
Purchase and Possession LimitsThe Florida Medical Marijuana Act of 2016 requested the Department of Health to develop a variety of regulations for the industry. One of the many things Amendment 2 had left to be determined was the volume of medication an individual patient could possess, purchase, or grow. In January 2017, the Department of Health clarified this to mean a 45 day supply.
If you are not a medical marijuana patient, possessing any marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Driving while IntoxicatedUnder no circumstance shall a registered patient operate any aircraft, boat, train, or any other motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. The behavior is legally checked by fines up to $1,000 and as much as six months imprisonment. A patient may legally transport medicine for personal use within the state, as is the case when a caregiver is providing medicine to their patient.
Marijuana Use by MinorsMedical marijuana may be recommended to minors younger than 18 only if they receive a certification from two physicians rather than one. While many cities or counties may have lowered criminal penalties associated with possession and use of marijuana, the use of the substance remains fiercely penalized by the state.
Growing Marijuana at HomeFlorida only permits cultivation by licensed facilities.
Places to Consume LegallyFlorida specifically forbids medical marijuana consumption of all types in public.
Legalization OutlooksAs of March 2017, the state has at least two proposed initiatives to legalize cannabis for adults age 21 and older. The "Right of Adults to Cannabis Act" proposed by the Floridians for Freedom would legalize the possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The "Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions Act" would also legalize limited cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana by those age 21 and older, while ordering the creation of a new regulatory and licensing system.
Florida Marijuana Prices and Economic Data
It is unclear how this would translate into a 45-day quantity, the patient possession limit.
Industry StatisticsAt the end of February 2017, there were over 4,000 patients enrolled in the Florida Medical Marijuana Program. By June 2022, the program is expected to have near 350,000 patients enrolled and is projected to generate at least $140 million in sales annually, with some estimates showing this number as high as $400 million. In tax revenues, based on the state sales tax, would come to somewhere between $9- $25 million annually.
Cancer is the most common illness patients seeking medical marijuana are suffering from, followed by epilepsy.
Proposed LegislationThere are two bills making their way through the chambers of the Florida legislature seeking to clarify the rules of the medical marijuana industry, each touting different priorities when it comes to implementing Amendment 2.
SB406 proposes possession limits of up to a 90-day supply, up from 45 days worth. Additionally, physicians would no longer be required to establish three full months of direct care with each patient. The licensing of dispensing organizations would be increased in increments based on total patient enrollment.
At 250,000 patients, five additional medical marijuana treatment centers must be licensed within six months. At 350,000 patients, another five must be licensed. At 400,000 patients, six more dispensing facilities are to receive licensure. For every 100,000 patients after enrollment reach 500,000, five additional treatment centers will be licensed.
SB614 would allow marijuana dispensing facilities to specialize. Currently, licensed organizations selling medical marijuana must cultivate, manufacture, and retail all the products the company carries. SB614 would create four separate licensing categories for businesses and would allow for up to one licensed dispensing location per 25,000 residents.
However, SB614 would seek to keep access to medical marijuana, or full-THC cannabis, to those who are terminally ill, mimicking the limited low-THC medical marijuana program the state has had since 2014.
Marijuana Activities: Things to do in Florida
The South Florida Medical Marijuana SymposiumA cannabis event unlike any other, the South Florida Medical Marijuana Symposium is a meeting of minds. A host of leading medical experts come to discuss the evolution of cannabis research. In 2017, the event focused on the physiology of the endocannabinoid system, an internal biological system that responds to cannabinoids affecting the brain and nervous system. The idea is furthered with analysis of the latest research, exploring treatments in pain and the prospect of slowing Alzheimer's disease.
The Florida Medical Cannabis Conference and ExpoYet another conference targeting cannabis professionals, the Florida Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo is a networking event filled with lectures and discussions about the things affecting the cannabis industry the most. Topics such as federal and state regulation, law enforcement, the political environment, tax and banking solutions, and innovations in technology are covered.
For health professionals, the conference delves into the roles of the endocannabinoid system. Emerging research in cannabinoid-science is put through analysis and discussions surrounding the effectiveness of cannabis in addressing specific medical conditions, including dosing and differences in experience based on the route of administration.
Family Fun in the Orlando-areaThe area surrounding Orlando is home to some of the best known theme parks in the world. For patients who had experienced limited mobility due to seizures, spasm, pain, or any of the other accepted medical conditions, they may now have access to some of these theme park, bestowing the magic at Disney World to populations that may otherwise be unable to experience it.
Disney World is is made up of four amusement parks, two water parks, and a sports complex. Universal Studios has two theme parks, Universal Studios Orlando and the Islands of Adventure park. Most recently, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was added to the Islands of Adventure.
Legoland also has a claim in the Orlando area, hosting over 50 rides in the 150 acre park. Seaworld is a series of aquariums and habitats for sea life, as well as a variety of shows and events demonstrating the intelligence of aquatic life. Whether you want to laugh or be amazed, Seaworld infuses family fun into every experience they produce.
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