Yes. Cannabis cultivation for producing medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis is legal in Charlotte County, while the recreational use of marijuana remains prohibited in the State of Florida. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), an agency under the Florida Department of Health (DOH), oversees the statewide medical marijuana program. It licenses cannabis businesses to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers.
According to Section 381.986 of the 2022 Florida Statutes, a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) is authorized to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense medical cannabis, low-THC cannabis, and cannabis delivery devices. An MMTC licensed to grow marijuana may use pesticides approved by the DOH and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to be safely consumed by humans. The licensee must inspect the seeds and growing plants for pests that may endanger or threaten the agricultural and horticultural interests of the state.
When cultivating marijuana, the MMTC must have existing infrastructure and technological and technical ability to start growing marijuana. Cannabis cultivation must be within an enclosed structure or indoors and in a room separate from other plants. Its premises may not be located within 500 feet of a public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school.
The statute sanctions a qualified patient or caregiver who cultivates marijuana or obtains marijuana from any other person or entity not licensed as an MMTC.
Yes. MMTCs are also authorized to process or manufacture marijuana for medical use. It must also have the technical and technological ability to produce marijuana and low-THC cannabis. They are required to produce at least one low-THC cannabis product for purchase. Licensed MMTCs may not contract other entities for services directly related to the processing of marijuana except with another licensed MMTC.
An MMTC that manufactures edibles must secure a permit to operate as a food establishment following the Florida Food Safety Act. The DOH must also adopt sanitation rules and regulations providing the standards for storing, displaying, or dispensing edibles.
Like cannabis cultivators, MMTCs must process marijuana in an enclosed structure and in a room segregated from other plants or products. They must comply with the procedures for the proper handling, storage, transportation, management, and disposal of solid and liquid waste generated during cannabis manufacturing and production.
A medical marijuana testing laboratory must test processed marijuana before dispensing the product to consumers. Two MMTC employees must verify and sign the laboratory results. The test results must indicate that the low-THC cannabis product follows the lawful concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and potency requirements laid down by law, the labeling of THC concentration in the product is accurate, and that all marijuana products is safe for human consumption and free from unsafe contaminants.
Yes. Qualified patients and caregivers may purchase low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and cannabis delivery devices only from MMTCs licensed to dispense these products. MMTCs may not dispense more than a 70-day supply of marijuana, as certified by the physician. Moreover, the MMTC must not distribute more than a 35-day supply of cannabis in the form of smoking to a qualified patient or caregiver. It must not exceed 2.5 ounces within this period unless otherwise provided by the DOH.
When dispensing medical marijuana, the MMTC should verify that the qualified patient or caregiver has an active registration in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) and a valid MMUR identification card, the type and amount of marijuana dispensed matches the certification made by their physician in the MMUR, and that the physician certification has not yet been filled.
Qualified patients who are under 18 years old may not purchase from MMTCs directly to obtain cannabis but must designate a caregiver to buy for them. From 9:00 pm to 7:00 am, MMTCs cannot dispense marijuana from their premises but may perform other operations, including delivering marijuana to patients 24 hours a day.
The forms of medical marijuana sold in the county are edibles, oils, vapes, tinctures, capsules, and cartridges. Edibles must not contain more than 200 mg of THC, and a single serving size of an edible may not exceed 10 mg of THC. The potency variance of marijuana edibles must not be greater than 15%. Generally, smoking marijuana is not allowed in Florida. But, if the certifying physician determines that smoking is an appropriate route of administration for the patient and that the latter has tried and failed in using other routes of administration, then smoking marijuana may be allowed.
Yes. Medical marijuana treatment centers can deliver medical cannabis to qualified patients and caregivers, provided they present their MMUR IDs to the employee as proof they are eligible to receive cannabis products.
To ensure the safe transport of marijuana to MMTCs, qualified patients, and caregivers, a marijuana transportation manifest must be available in any vehicle delivering marijuana. The cars used must be in good working condition and well-maintained, and persons transporting marijuana must keep the products in a separate container within the vehicle.
The Medical Marijuana Use Registry is an electronic, secure, online database for registering qualified patients, caregivers, and physicians. Holding an MMUR identification card allows a qualified patient or caregiver to purchase marijuana from MMTCs. To be a qualified patient, one must be:
A permanent or seasonal resident of Florida
Diagnosed with any of the qualifying medical conditions by a qualified physician
Registered into the MMUR.
The qualifying medical conditions are:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Other medical conditions similar to those listed above
A terminal disease diagnosed by a physician apart from the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
Chronic nonmalignant pain that originated from or is caused by a qualifying medical condition; and continues beyond the ordinary course of that qualifying medical condition.
Applications for an MMUR ID may be submitted online through the MMUR or mailed to the OMMU. Qualified patients and caregivers may see the application instructions here:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
Weekdays (7:00 am - 6:00 pm, EST): 850-245-4657
Weekdays (8:00 am - 6:00 pm, EST): 800-808-9580
Patient and Caregiver ID Card Applications & Accompanying Documents:
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
In 2020, an economics report stated that Florida generated more than $1.2 billion in cannabis sales.
In 2016, lawmakers amended the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act by adding more qualifying medical conditions. They expanded the coverage of the medical marijuana program to cater to the restrictions by the previous statute.
According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, in 2017, there were 32,697 arrests made for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida. By the following year, there was a drop in the number of arrests to only 1,613. In the next two years, or 2019 and 2020, DUI arrests were 33,872 and 29,126, respectively.
As for the illegal possession of marijuana in the state, there were 135 apprehensions made in 2017. Then in 2018, no arrest was recorded by the FBI. By 2019 and 2020, the arrests decreased to 74 and 16.
On the other hand, state authorities made 3 arrests for the illegal sale/manufacturing of marijuana in 2017, while no arrest was made in 2018. Subsequently, 2 and 1 arrests were reported in 2019 and 2020 for the unlawful act of selling/manufacturing marijuana in Florida.