Florida Cannabis Legalization

Florida Cannabis Legalization

To achieve legalization in Florida, cannabis activists needed to prove not only to residents but elected officials that cannabis has a legitimate place in the medical industry. 

Cannabis became legal in the state of Florida in 2016. Laws currently allow the legal consumption of THC-containing cannabis for approved medical purposes only. While the state’s cannabis journey continues to grow and evolve, it is beneficial to understand both the history of cannabis in Florida, and where Florida currently stands in its relationship with cannabis.

Florida Legislation Supports Legalization

These major legislative efforts were vital in moving FL towards medical cannabis:

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act

Governor Rick Scott approved the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in 2014, which would officially become law in 2017. This would be the first legal medical cannabis program in the history of the state. This law enabled certain people to utilize a specific type of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis concentrate created from a strain known as Charlotte’s Web, strictly available to treat cancer, ALS, and epilepsy.

While this law didn’t broadly open the doors for medical cannabis use in Florida, it was a crucial first step. In 2015, Florida’s Right to Try Act legalized experimental treatments for patients who were seriously ill. By 2016, the legislature approved the addition of medical cannabis to the experimental list. 

The Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation Initiative

Gaining medical legalization in any form was an enormous success for cannabis advocates in Florida, but there was still more work to be done. The next step was pushing for the reduction of restrictions placed on the ability to qualify for medicinal marijuana. This initiative, also referred to as Amendment 2, was created with the intent of expanding the approved conditions list. 

In 2016, over 70% of voting-age residents voted “yes” on Amendment 2. However, while it did expand the list of qualifying conditions, there were still significant restrictions to address in the future. These restrictions included limiting how cannabis could be consumed. At the time, it was still prohibited to smoke cannabis, and patients were limited to vapes, sprays, pills, edibles, and oils. 

Legalization of Smokable Cannabis

After the legal approval of medical cannabis for a wider range of patients, cannabis advocates set their next major goal: state approval of smokable cannabis. In 2018, the smoked cannabis ban was found unconstitutional, and a judge ordered that the provision be overturned. As a result, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill officially repealing the smoked cannabis ban. This bill, known only as Session 182, allows only medical patients to smoke cannabis flower.

Medical Cannabis in Florida Today

Since 2014, medical cannabis has been legal throughout the state of Florida, albeit with the above-mentioned restrictions. Due to the dedication and diligence of cannabis advocates, medical cannabis is available in numerous forms and available to a wide range of patients who need it for a variety of conditions. To obtain a medical marijuana card in Florida, there are rules that patients must follow.

The patient must be a legal resident of Florida and have medical proof of a qualifying condition:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma 
  • PTSD
  • Epilepsy
  • ALS
  • MS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Chronic or debilitating medical conditions with doctor approval

If you are a Florida resident with a medical marijuana card, you can only purchase the cannabis, supplies, and tools you need at a state-licensed dispensary. When you arrive at your chosen dispensary, you must show your medical marijuana card as well as a valid photo ID. You’ll also need to record the name of your doctor as well as the dosage you’ve been prescribed. As you travel from the dispensary to your home--and any time you choose to carry cannabis on your person--you must carry your medical card with you and display it to law enforcement if asked. Many people choose to carry their medical card with them at all times to prevent misunderstandings.

The Florida OMMU was updated August 29, 2022, in compliance with section 381.986(4)(f), which states that “The department [of Health] shall quantify by rule a daily dose amount with equivalent doses for each allowable form of marijuana dispensed at medical treatment centers." Patients are limited to the purchase of 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana within a 35-day period.

What Was the First Dispensary in Florida?

The first medical cannabis dispensary in Florida opened its doors in 2016. The dispensary was located in a strip mall in Tallahassee. The first customer, Dallas Nagby, historically purchased the medicinal marijuana he needed for his chronic muscle spasms and seizures. 

This was a monumental moment for residents across the state of Florida who would finally have legal access to the medication they needed for their serious health concerns. It wouldn’t take long for other dispensaries to make their presence known, with MÜV Apollo Beach . In 2022, there are over 200 dispensaries across the state that are run by fourteen licensed companies, most prominently, MÜV Florida Cannabis Dispensaries.

Celebrate Cannabis Legalization in Florida

The legalization of medicinal cannabis was a huge step in the state of Florida. Cannabis advocates continue to work to ensure cannabis maintains its place as a viable option for numerous medical conditions. For those seeking help with a physical or mental health disorder, cannabis can provide relief from symptoms associated with a variety of qualifying conditions. 

Florida residents are now better than ever positioned to enjoy cannabis and its various benefits as they deserve. The state's decision to legalize medicinal cannabis is one of the most positive developments in recent history, and it's a good example of how much progress can be made when lawmakers put their citizens first.

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Region: Florida


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