Alachua County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Alachua County?

Yes, cannabis cultivation is allowed in Alachua County but only for medical use. Section 381.986 of the 2022 Florida Statute only allows medical marijuana use in the state, and this ruling is overseen by the Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) are granted permits by the department to cultivate, transport, process, and dispense marijuana. These facilities must be at least 500 feet away from any elementary, middle, or high school, whether it is public or private.

The State only permits MMTCs to cultivate marijuana indoors, away from other plants, in a separate room. Anyone else who cultivates marijuana is breaking the law under Section 893.13 and faces penalties. For MMTCs, Section 381.986 stipulates the following rules:

  1. Following an agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, pesticides may be used.

  2. In accordance with Chapter 581 of the Florida Statutes for 2022, pest inspections of seeds and growing plants are required. Infected plants should be treated or destroyed if necessary.

  3. To ensure the security and safety of MMTCs, the following measures should be put into practice:

  • A security alarm and video surveillance system that is properly installed

  • There should always be two staff on the property with valid identification

  • Visitors must have a visiting pass on them at all times while they are on the property

  • Adequate lighting for outside spaces

  • Inform local law enforcement of marijuana theft, diversion, or loss cases within 24 hours

  • Maintain a drug-free and alcohol-free workplace

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Alachua County?

Yes, although the law only allows licensed MMTCs to manufacture marijuana. The following guidelines must be followed when manufacturing marijuana in accordance with Section 381.986:

  1. The room where the manufacturing takes place needs to be enclosed inside a building and away from other products.

  2. Ensure that generated waste is stored, handled, transported, managed, and disposed of properly.

  3. The items should undergo testing at a medical marijuana testing facility.

  4. Use only solvents that the Department of Health (DOH) has declared to be secure and unlikely to be hazardous to humans.

  5. According to the United States Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970, packaging must be properly labeled. Cannabis that is meant to be smoked needs to be packaged in a sealed container with visible warnings to keep children away from it and that marijuana smoke has carcinogens and could be harmful to health.

According to Chapter 500, MMTCs that make edibles are also obliged to have a license to operate as a restaurant and to follow all rules set forth in that chapter. A single serving of edibles cannot contain more than 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, and they should not appeal to children.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Alachua County?

Yes, authorized MMTCs are permitted by the State to dispense medical marijuana to licensed patients. Alachua County now has 11 MMTC dispensing facilities. These dispensaries sell products, including CBD oil, edibles, topicals, oral syringes, tinctures, tincture cartridges, capsules, flowers, and concentrates that can only be recommended for use in medical marijuana delivery devices that have been approved by a doctor.

Section 381.986 specifies the limit for retail cannabis as follows:

  • Dispensing is prohibited between 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

  • No more than a 70-day supply of cannabis in any given 70-day period

  • Unless the department issues a waiver, a 35-day supply of marijuana meant for smoking cannot include more than 2.5 ounces

  • No more than one 35-day supply of cannabis in the form of smoking in a 35-day period

The medical marijuana use registry must be used by an employee who plans to dispense marijuana products to confirm that the customer is an active registered eligible patient or caregiver. The employee administering the marijuana must record the date and time of the dispensing, the quantity and variety of marijuana dispensed, the type of marijuana delivery device dispensed, and the name and registry identification number of the eligible patient or caregiver.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Alachua County?

Yes. According to Section 381.986, the State permits licensed MMTCs to supply marijuana any time of day. Delivery is only permitted to holders of medical marijuana cards that are currently registered, who may be the eligible patient or their caregivers.

The Section further establishes the following guidelines to guarantee the security of marijuana delivery devices and their transportation:

  1. In any delivery vehicle, keep a transportation manifest created by the MMTC's seed-to-sale tracking system. It must include the following details, and the recipient must receive a copy:
  • Name, address, and the MMTC's license number

  • Date and estimated time of departure

  • The recipient's name and address

  • Quantity and form of the marijuana product being transported

  • Date and anticipated arrival time

  • Model of the delivery vehicle and its license plate

  • Signature and name of the delivery worker

  1. The item needs to be put inside the car in a certain spot or container.

  2. Employee ID cards should be worn by delivery personnel.

  3. While the goods are being transported, the vehicle should have a minimum of two occupants, one of whom should remain inside while the product is being delivered to the recipient.

  4. Employees who deliver products should receive security and safety training.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Alachua County

Florida residents who meet the requirements can apply online or by mail for a medical marijuana card. The medical certification for the patient or caregiver should be issued by a qualified medical professional. A patient must meet the following requirements in order to be considered: they must have one of the following conditions: glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, conditions of the same kind, a terminal illness determined by a doctor other than the qualified doctor issuing the medical certification, and chronic nonmalignant pain.

The following are the prerequisites for the application, according to OMMU:

  1. Applicants' picture

  2. Proof of residency or Florida driver's license

  3. Signature

  4. Payment

Applicants can apply online through the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, fill out all of the required information, and pay the application fee. On the other hand, submitting an application by mail can be done by printing a caregiver or patient form, filling it out, and sending the following form to the address:

Office of Medical Marijuana Use

PO Box 31313

Tampa, FL 33631-3313

Once approved, the applicant will receive mail with the official medical marijuana card. Contact the department at 800-808-9580 for assistance.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Alachua County?

In 2016, medical marijuana became legal in Florida. The State's medical marijuana industry is anticipated to be valued at more than $1.5 billion by 2020 and make up as much as 7.9% of the entire legal marijuana market in the US. Although there is no excise tax on its sales, a 6% retail sales tax is nevertheless applied to all purchases in the State. $20 million to $40 million in revenue was generated by cannabis sales in the first year following its legalization.

Records show that the State's medical marijuana sector is still expanding. The State now has 776,365 qualifying patients, 2,630 qualified doctors, and 501 dispensaries as of December 16, 2022. It has sold 267,535,125 mg of THC, 97,894.864 oz. of marijuana in smoking form, and 2,801,496 of CBD.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Alachua County

According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, from having 100 DUI arrests and 0 arrests for marijuana possession in 2019, it is now down to 60 DUI arrests and still 0 arrests for marijuana possession in 2020. This data was made available by Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

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