What Are Florida’s Medical Marijuana Laws?
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 break down 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…
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.
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
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.
Looking for More Information About Medical Marijuana?
If you have any questions regarding medical marijuana laws or would like to find out if you qualify, CannaMD is here to help!
To find out if you qualify for free, simply call 1 (855) 420-9170 or fill out a quick application online!
Interested in reading more about medical marijuana legal issues? Check out one of the following posts:
- Can I Use Medical Marijuana at Work in Florida?
- Tenant Rights: Medical Marijuana in Florida Apartments
- Can I Use My Medical Marijuana in States Where It’s Not Legal?
If you have experience with a medical marijuana legal issue, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section, below!