The cultivation in Bay County of low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis and medical cannabis is legal under Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida. The definition of low-THC cannabis in the statute is cannabis that contains a maximum content of 0.8% THC according to weight. There is no limit to its cannabidiol (CBD) content. The definition of medical cannabis in the statute is cannabis with higher than 0.8% THC content but used only for medical purposes.
A cannabis cultivation company in Bay County is required to obtain from the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) license. The licensee will then have the authority to cultivate low-THC and medical cannabis, manufacture products from these, and sell these and their products by retail.
The licensed cultivation of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis is only allowed indoors. These must be completely separate from any other crops that the licensed cultivator may also be growing.
Statute XXXV Chapter 581 of the State of Florida’s Plant Industry mandates that licensed cannabis cultivators must implement strict monitoring over their crops of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis to ensure that any sign of disease or infestation by pests that may affect the state’s agriculture is caught immediately and promptly addressed through proper treatment or fumigation. Licensed cannabis cultivators are only allowed to use pesticides that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has approved for use on crops consumable by humans.
The manufacturing in Bay County of low-THC cannabis products and medical cannabis products is legal as mandated by the State of Florida’s Statute 381.986. As with all cannabis businesses, a cannabis manufacturing company in Bay County must acquire an MMTC license from the OMMU.
The licensed manufacturing of low-THC cannabis products and medical cannabis products is allowed only indoors. These must be done separately from the manufacturing of any other goods that the licensed manufacturer may also be producing.
Licensed cannabis manufacturers must comply with all applicable rules of the DOH regarding the handling of potentially dangerous gases or solvents. They must also comply with regulations on the state and federal levels regarding the handling and disposal of liquid and solid wastes.
The licensed cannabis manufacturer must set aside for a minimum of nine months two samples from each batch of low-THC cannabis products and medical cannabis products manufactured. During that period, the licensed cannabis manufacturer must submit to an audit of the samples and its manufacturing procedures and records by a DOH-approved testing facility. The testing laboratory shall submit to the DOH its findings on the following:
The THC and CBD levels contained in the product samples
Whether the product samples comply with the levels of potency required by the DOH
Whether the product samples are free from contamination
Whether the labels on the product samples are accurate
Whether the product samples are safe for human consumption
The DACS may be requested by the DOH to confirm the testing laboratory’s findings using the remaining product samples kept by the licensed cannabis manufacturer.
The packaging of all low-THC cannabis products and medical cannabis products must be plain white, opaque, and in compliance with the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. They may only sport the DOH-approved MMTC logo.
All low-THC cannabis products and medical cannabis products must be labeled using fonts and wording that are not similar in any manner to those used by products meant for children. The labels must contain the following:
The low-THC cannabis product or medical cannabis product name
The percentage of THC and CBD contained in the product
The low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis harvest number
The low-THC cannabis product or medical cannabis product batch manufacturing number
A warning that giving the low-THC cannabis product or medical cannabis product to anyone for whom it is not intended is illegal
A warning to keep low-THC cannabis products or medical cannabis products beyond children’s access
For low-THC cannabis products or medical cannabis products meant for smoking, a warning that it includes substances that may endanger health upon inhalation
A leaflet must be inserted in each low-THC cannabis product or medical cannabis product package, stating the following:
How many doses or servings the package contains
How potent each dose or serving is
What the product’s medical uses are
How the product is used, consumed, or administered
What contraindications the product has, if any
What potential dangers the product poses
What warnings and safety procedures the user must be aware of
To manufacture edible low-THC cannabis products or medical cannabis products, a licensed cannabis manufacturer must obtain a food permit from the DACS under the Florida Food Safety Act. The requirements are the same as those for other food businesses statewide such as the need for the inspection of the manufacturing facility by a U.S.-recognized body and acquiring a certification for Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices.
Edible low-THC cannabis products or medical cannabis products are only allowed a potency variance of up to 15%. A package may contain only up to 20 servings with a total of 200 milligrams of THC, at a maximum of 10 milligrams per serving. The package must be labeled with its expiration date, a complete list of ingredients, and instructions for proper storage. No edible cannabis product may resemble sweets and other food products usually eaten by children.
The retail selling in Bay County of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis and their products to medical cannabis cardholders of the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) is legal as stipulated by Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida. Like all other cannabis enterprises, a cannabis retail company in Bay County needs an MMTC license granted by the OMMU. As of April 2023, however, there is no licensed MMTC dispensary in Bay County.
If a licensed dispensary were to open in Bay County, Statute 381.986 allows it to sell the following forms of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis and their products:
Capsules, pills, and suppositories
Smokable medical cannabis
Vaping devices with medical cannabis
A patient may only be sold the following limits from a licensed cannabis dispensary within a day:
60 milligrams of THC in edible products
150 milligrams of THC in topical products
190 milligrams of THC in sublingual products
200 milligrams of THC in capsules or tinctures
350 milligrams of nicotine in vaping products
Every 70-day period, a patient may only be sold a 70-day supply of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis and their products, except for products meant for smoking. For the latter, there is a lower cap of a 35-day supply every 35 days, with only 2.5 ounces allowed in each transaction.
The delivery in Bay County of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and their products by licensed MMTCs to medical cannabis cardholders of the MMUR is legal according to the State of Florida’s Statute 381.986.
The MMTC dispensary employee must hand over the purchased items in person to the medical cannabis cardholder after physically verifying the card and the identity of the holder. The recipient must sign a copy of the delivery manifest as an acknowledgment of receipt.
Permanent residents of Bay County or seasonal visitors may apply to the OMMU for an MMUR medical cannabis card. They must first search for an OMMU-qualified physician and be diagnosed to have one of the following illnesses to qualify:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Other similar medical conditions
The physician will post the patient’s name, email address, and diagnosis on the MMUR. If the patient is a minor or an adult in need of a caregiver the physician will add this detail. The MMUR will then issue a unique identification number for the patient and the caregiver. It will also send each of them an email with their account log-in and temporary password to the online registry. The patient and caregiver must each log in, change their password, and complete their application online. They must provide their photo and proof of residency if they are not registered in the database of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Applications may also be done by mail by printing, completing, and sending the patient application form and caregiver application form with their respective photos and proofs of state residency to the:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
The $75 fee may be paid online or with a money order or check payable to the Florida Department of Health for postal applications. The applicant’s MMUR ID number must be written on the memo line. Online application processing takes approximately 10 working days. Postal applications will take about three days longer.
Caregivers are required to complete every two years a free Caregiver Certification Course available on the online registry.
Queries may be addressed to:
Department of Health
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin M-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Patient helpline: (800) 808-9580
Bay County has no licensed MMTCs, hence, the legalization of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis has not impacted its economy.
The State of Florida also does not earn tax revenues from low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis since these are exempted from sales tax under Statute 381.986 Section 212.08.
In 2019, two years after the legalization of medical cannabis, there was also no marijuana offense arrest.
In 2020, which is the latest available data, there was still no marijuana offense arrest.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2017: 77 arrests
2019: 78 arrests
2020: 93 arrests