FL Marijuana Legalization — a Deep Dive on Laws

In our Florida Marijuana Legalization Guide we cover a lot. But first, is marijuana legal in Florida? Well, yes and no, but mostly no.

Below we summarize all cannabis rules in FL, including what’s legal and what isn’t, what you can carry on your person, what permits you need, and more. But first, it’s important to understand the history of marijuana policy in Florida.

Table of Contents

History of FL Marijuana Legalization — Medical and Recreational

Marijuana became illegal in Florida in rhythm with the rest of the country: first with the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act and then with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. However, things began to change in 2014 when Florida’s legislature passed the state’s first legal, medical cannabis program.

Called the Compassionate Use Act, this legal amendment allowed only for low-THC cannabis — specifically, a strain called Charlotte’s Web — and restricted use to those with epilepsy and cancer.

In 2016, the Right to Try act expanded cannabis use to full-potency strains and to anyone with a formal diagnosis of a terminal condition. In other words, you could smoke weed, but you had to be dying.

2016 also saw the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative passed by citizen referendum. On November 8, it passed with a large majority vote of 71.3%. With it, the state expanded its medical cannabis program significantly.

Finally, June 9, 2017, marked the passage of this expansion by the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. They revised the Compassionate Use Act to allow for broader medical cannabis use, and the change went into effect on June 23, 2017.

Florida still lags behind many other states, but things are changing.

So is marijuana legal in FL? It’s legal if you have a medical marijuana card, but it’s illegal for recreational use. More on this in the sections below.

Who Can Purchase Marijuana in Florida?

All cannabis rules in Florida prohibit recreational use or purchase. Hence, in order to use cannabis in Florida, you have to purchase it as medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Either you or your caregiver is allowed to buy it.

To do this, you must be a patient in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. The only avenue to enter this registry is through your doctor.

How Does It Have to Be Stored?

When you purchase marijuana in Florida, it has to be sold in a tamper-proof container from a dispensary. At home, you should keep it in this container, or you may opt for a secure stash box.

Can I Share My Marijuana With Others?

Emphatically: no. Florida medical marijuana laws prohibit you from sharing your marijuana with someone else, even if that person is also a patient with a prescription in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

Can I Use or Possess Marijuana in Public?

No matter the situation, all cannabis rules in Florida prohibit public use of high-THC marijuana — either in public spaces or on public transportation. However, you can possess high-THC marijuana in public as long as you don’t use it.

CBD, which is low-THC cannabis derived from the hemp plant, is legal to use in public. However, it’s not recommended that you use it near federal sites like the DMV, tax collection buildings, or courthouses, and certainly not near schools or hospitals.

Can I Use Marijuana at Work?

You are not allowed to use medical marijuana at work unless your employer explicitly permits you to.

Can I Use Marijuana While Operating a Vehicle?

In Florida, it is illegal to medicate with high-THC marijuana and operate any type of vehicle (car, aircraft, boat, motorcycle, etc.). However, low-THC cannabis like CBD is not prohibited while operating a vehicle.

Can I Bring My FL Medical Marijuana Out of State?

Marijuana purchased in Florida cannot cross any state lines.

FL marijuana legalization laws explicitly prohibit transporting medical marijuana across state lines. This is the case even if you’re bringing it to another state where medical marijuana is also legal.

This portion of Florida’s marijuana policy is likely to evolve as an increasing number of states legalize weed. At the moment, however, transporting your medical marijuana across state lines is a risky move.

Do I Have to Show My Card to Law Enforcement?

If asked to show your Medical Marijuana Use Registry ID card by police or other law enforcement, you must comply. It’s wise to always carry your card on you.

How Long Will I Qualify for Medical Marijuana?

If you meet the standards for medical marijuana in Florida, your pass will expire at the end of 210 days (7 months) unless you visit your physician again. Your physician might require you to visit more frequently.

You will need to renew your application every year. Don’t let this lapse, or you’ll have to start the application process over again!

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JJ Smoak

Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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