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What Are Florida’s Medical Marijuana Laws?

Medical Marijuana Police

So by now, you’ve probably heard that medical marijuana is legal in Florida. But what exactly does that mean?

CannaMD breaks down Florida’s medical marijuana laws, outlining everything Florida residents need to know to stay safe and on the right side of the law!

What is Medical Marijuana?

To apply Florida’s medical marijuana laws, we first need to understand what medical marijuana is.

As qualifying medical marijuana physicians, we’re often asked:

What’s the difference between medical and ‘regular’ marijuana?

In short, marijuana is marijuana. The distinction between recreational (or “regular”) marijuana and medical marijuana comes down to legal definitions determined by each state and the way the product is being used. Essentially, recreational marijuana is cannabis used without any medical justification.

Florida lawmakers consider “all parts of any Cannabis plant” marijuana; however, marijuana is only considered “medical” if it’s dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center to a state-qualified patient.

Amendment 2: A Brief History

On June 16, 2014, Florida became the 22nd state to legalize access to medical marijuana when Governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, or Senate Bill 1030, allowed patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures, or muscle spasms to use low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis products prescribed by a licensed doctor. Doctors and patients had to register on the Compassionate Use Registry, an online database maintained by the Florida Department of Health.

Following Senate Bill 1030, Florida Amendment 2 (Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions) appeared on the November 4, 2014, ballot. This first version of Amendment 2 failed to win the 60% majority of votes required to pass by less than 3%.

In March 2016, State Bill 307 expanded access to full-strength medical marijuana to eligible patients who had “a terminal condition, which, without the administration of life-sustaining procedures, will result in death within one year if the condition runs its normal course.”

Assisted by publicity gained from the original Amendment 2, The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, was placed on the 2016 ballot. Similar to the 2014 Amendment 2, the new Amendment 2 also required a super-majority vote to pass.

Winning with a 71% majority, Florida voters approved The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative on November 8th, 2016.

Several months later, Senate Bill 8A was passed to outline rules for the use and administration of medical marijuana. Following the passage of Senate Bill 8A, The Florida Department of Health established the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to implement these rules and changed the name of the Compassionate Use Registry to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

Who Can Qualify for Medical Marijuana?

Senate Bill 8A defines a qualified patient as:

A resident of this state [Florida] who has been added to the medical marijuana use registry by a qualified physician to receive marijuana or a marijuana delivery device for a medical use and who has a qualified patient identification card.

To qualify for medical marijuana in Florida, a patient must:

  • Be diagnosed by a certified physician with a qualifying condition, and
  • Have permanent or temporary residency in the state of Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at these two requirements…

Qualifying Conditions

As outlined by Amendment 2, the following conditions qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Florida:

In addition to the qualifying conditions above, Senate Bill 8A allows for treatment of other “diagnosable, debilitating conditions of like, kind, or class” (such as anxiety, depression, and migraines), as well as terminal conditions (diagnosed by a physician other than the physician issuing certification) and chronic nonmalignant pain (defined as pain caused by a qualifying medical condition that persists beyond the usual course of that condition).

For a full list of conditions that may qualify, please see our Qualifying Conditions Resource Page.

Residency Requirements

Qualifying patients must also provide proof of Florida residency. To establish permanent Florida residency, patients must supply one of the following documents (along with a photo ID):

  • Copy of a house deed or lease agreement
  • Utility bill (no more than two months old)
  • State ID or driver’s license
  • Passport

In addition to permanent residents, Senate Bill 8A states that individuals who meet the definition of seasonal residents may qualify, as well:

The term ‘seasonal resident’ means any person who temporarily resides in this state [Florida] for a period of at least 31 consecutive days in each calendar year, maintains a temporary residence in this state, returns to the state or jurisdiction of his or her residence at least one time during each calendar year, and is registered to vote or pays income tax in another state or jurisdiction.

For details on proving temporary residency, please see: Florida Snowbirds Can Use Medical Marijuana.

Restrictions and Exceptions

Although medical marijuana is legal for qualified patients in Florida, there are still a number of restrictions on its use and transport.

According to Senate Bill 8A, medical marijuana use and/or administration is strictly prohibited in the following places:

  • On any form of public transportation *
  • In any public place *
  • In the patient’s place of employment (unless permitted by his or her employer)
  • In a state correctional institution
  • On the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school
  • On a school bus
  • In a vehicle
  • In an aircraft
  • On a motorboat *

Low-THC cannabis use is permitted in categories followed by an asterisk (*). Low-THC cannabis is defined as:

A plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain .8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight.

Smokable Marijuana Update

Senate Bill 8A only authorizes select routes of administration (or ways to consume the medication). These include vapor, oils/tinctures, topicals (such as transdermal patches), and edibles (although, as of publication, rules for use and administration for this specific route haven’t been issued – meaning that edibles are technically legal, but still unavailable to patients). Fortunately, Florida has since amended their previous marijuana laws to allow qualified patients to purchase and consume smokable forms of marijuana (also known as flower).

On March 18th, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 182, repealing the original smoking ban that Rick Scott put into place in early 2017. This legislation was co-sponsored by State Senators Jeff Brandes and Linda Stewart and gained mass attention due to overwhelming support from outspoken lawyer, John Morgan.

On signing day, Governor DeSantis stated:

I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld.

Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.

So what does this mean for Florida medical marijuana cardholders?

Senate Bill 182 allows patients to purchase 2.5 ounces of whole marijuana flower every 35 days as needed. Patients under 18 years of age are able to partake in the smoking modality only if they are diagnosed with a terminal condition and receive a second opinion from a pediatrician.

Most importantly: Patients must be specifically certified to consume smokable forms of medical marijuana by a qualified medical cannabis physician. Certification for vaping is not the same thing.

For more details about the smoking ban repeal, and how legislative developments evolved, please see: Florida’s Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban.

More Information About Florida’s Medical Marijuana Laws

Interested in reading more about medical marijuana laws in Florida?

Check out CannaMD‘s popular posts:

Have experience with a particular medical marijuana legal issue? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section, below!

How to get started

If you have any questions regarding medical marijuana laws or would like to find out if you qualify for treatment, CannaMD is here to help!

To find out if you qualify for free, simply call (855) 420-9170 or fill out a quick application online!

Find Out If You Qualify

You may be eligible for medical marijuana!

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61 Comments

  1. Define use. From what I see in this article, if you put on a patch and drive your kid to school you have violated two sections of the law. Being in a car and on school grounds. Can you clarify this?

    1. According to Senate Bill 8A, “medical use” means the “acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification.” The patch scenario poses an interesting question! While we’re unable to advise on legal issues, we encourage you to review the Senate Bill in full (definitions outlined in 381.986) and/or consult with legal counsel.

  2. How protected is my privacy of use (hipaa)? Can certain gov’t employers, government or otherwise, determine if an employee is prescribed/using mmj? I understand employers may use testing to determine employee use, but can they access patient databases to see if an employee is in the system?

  3. I have a medical marijuana card from another state but will be vacationing in Florida. Am I allowed to bring mine in from another state?

  4. I am a medicinal card holder from Arkansas, what steps do I take to posses
    use, or travel with while in Florida on vacation

    1. Hi, CJ. Unfortunately, Florida does not accept out of state cards at this time (and traveling across state lines with medical cannabis products is prohibited). However, if you stay in Florida for 30 consecutive days, you may be eligible for a Florida card as a seasonal resident. For more information, please see our seasonal resident blog post and/or give us a call at (855) 420-9170. We look forward to helping!

  5. I am considering moving to Florida with on SSDI.
    I have a current Michigan medical card.

    Does Florida allow higher tch strains for medical use , as well as the low thc strains?
    There seems to be distinctions without clarity.
    I need 35/65 hybrids. Chronic pain and depression.

    What is the legal chemistry in 2020?

    1. Hi, Earl. Florida doesn’t have any THC caps, so no worries there. Please feel free to give us a call at (855) 420-9170 to discuss further. We’re happy to help!

  6. I currently live in Miami
    And I was moving to a new apartment would this card allow me to use cannabis at home indoors
    Or even on my balcony despite any hoa regulations?

    Also with a medical marijuana card can I buy cannabis online from another state, for example California to get a better option on prices since insurance does not cover marijuana?

  7. Thank you that was informative.
    I do have another question.
    I currently suffer from insomnia and have been using marijuana for sleep for many years now.
    Is insomnia a valid reason to receive medical marijuana in Florida?

    1. While we can’t speak definitively to the lawmakers’ intent, it would seem this distinction was put in place to allow low-THC product use in areas (such as public places and public transportation) where “regular” medical marijuana use is prohibited. The distinction is also frequently used when treating certain populations (such as pregnant patients) who may not be able to consume higher-THC-concentrated products.

  8. Can I be outside on my private property and smoke with having my card? Also when you say No public, am I not allowed to walk up the street smoking?

    1. Yes, to your own private property 🙂 And no, you’re not allowed to smoke while walking on a public street.

  9. I have not seen any information on laws/ stipulations for State employee’s getting a green card. Please let me know if such information exists.

    1. Hi Loren. Are you asking if your status as a medical marijuana patient conflicts with green-card standing?

  10. Hi I’m from PA and I have my medical card here. Traveling to Florida to visit my mom and I was wondering if I would be served at a dispensary?

    1. Hi Dan. Unfortunately, Florida does not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards at this time 🙁

  11. If I am out on bail but have qualifying conditions can I still obtain my medical marijuana card? Also if on probation am I allowed to still use medical marijuana if I get my card?

  12. Does having a card from another state make it easier to go through the process of getting a card? Moving from michigan and nervous about how long it will take and if i’ll get accepted because it seems it’s a bit stricter there.

    1. Hi Nick! No, holding a card in one state bears no influence on the approval process in another state; however, if you have questions about Florida, we’d be happy to help! Please feel free to give us a call at (855) 420-9170. We’re here to assist!

  13. Hi, I see there is a limit on how much flower one can buy, but are there any stipulations on the other forms of ingestion?

  14. If I live in Florida but don’t have a Florida license can I still get my card. I was a patient in another state. What are my options with out a Florida license?

    1. We aren’t aware of any conflict that would prevent a foster parent from taking state-approved medical marijuana as a certified patient; however, we suggest checking with your licensing board to confirm.

  15. Hello, my husband is 78, has parkinsos and was just granted his medical marijuana card however he is not capable of communicating his needs and I need to be there with him while purchasing. Is there anyway I can go with him to buy?

    1. Yes, if you are authorized as a medical marijuana caregiver. Please give CannaMD a call at (855) 420-9170 so we can walk you through the caregiver process/requirements!

    1. Yes, patient orders are entered in the Florida Medical Marijuana Registry by physicians (such as the ones at CannaMD!).

  16. Can having your MMC disqualify or prevent a patient from getting any medications that would be considered controlled substances from their GP given the law with controlled medications changed in FL? Or is there an article that addresses that specific issue?

    1. No, there is no law that prevents a GP from prescribing certain medications based on medical marijuana use; however, different doctors and practices are free to implement their own internal rules and/or standards re: prescription protocols.

  17. Physician here. Always concerned that getting a MM card would lead to headache down the road. Whether renewing my state medical license, applying for hospital privileges, etc, it seems there’s definitely some questions in those enormous booklets we need to fill out pertaining to substance use and “diagnosed medical conditions” that would raise red flags to a hospital, employer, or the state medical board. I wonder how other physicians have handled this and what protections there are?

  18. Im interested in how to transport. Joints, carts, how much bud in able to possess and how it needs to be stored. Just want to have options on my person’s without fear of legal repercussions. Please and thank you.

    1. Hi Travis! You need to have an active medical marijuana card and may transport your medication (all types) within the state of Florida as long as it’s in its original packaging. Note: You may NOT use and/or administer any medical marijuana products while in a vehicle. Driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal in Florida.

  19. If I fail preemployment drug test because of medical Marijuana use and I do have Medical Marijuana card how can I defend myself from to be rejected from the job

    1. Unfortunately, at this time you can’t :/ Employers may still choose not to allow cannabis use, even if it’s medical. We’re hopeful this will change in the near future!

  20. My adult son has a mental health disability for which he receives Medicaid and SSI. While his antipsychotic medications, which he takes religiously, control his primary symptoms, he would like a marijuana prescription for social anxiety and nicotine abatement. Can he legally be prescribed marijuana in Florida with jeopardy to his Medicaid and SSI?

    1. We recommend speaking with a Social Security disability attorney; however, this article may be helpful in the meantime. Wishing your son improved health and wellbeing!

  21. Can my Florida HOA ban me from smoking medical marijuana on my outdoor lanai? I cannot use other modalities (ie edibles) because I had to have most of my stomach removed 3 years ago. The vape cartridges make me cough excessively. The HOA does not have one single documented complaint regarding my use. I use ventilation (fan,). Seems very arbitrary. I just purchased about 10 mos ago. I would not have purchased with this ban in place.

    1. Unfortunately, at this time (hopefully it’ll change in the near future!), medical marijuana patients aren’t protected in the same way that others are under the Americans with Disabilities Act – which means that, if they wanted to, your HOA technically could prohibit use. If they do, please reach out to us at press [at] cannamd.com and we’ll be happy to supply you with research to share that might persuade them to change their decision. Wishing you continued health and wellness!

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