The cultivation of only medical cannabis and low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis in Clay County is legal by virtue of Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida. The Statute defines low-THC cannabis as that which contains a maximum of 0.8% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) according to its weight. The cannabidiol (CBD) content is not restricted. Medical cannabis is any cannabis plant used for medical purposes.
To operate a medical and low-THC cannabis cultivation facility, a company is required to apply for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) license from the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). The MMTC license authorizes the holder to not only cultivate medical and low-THC cannabis but also to operate a medical and low-THC cannabis manufacturing facility and dispensary.
Licensed MMTCs are only allowed to cultivate medical and low-THC cannabis indoors. If they are growing any other crops, the medical and low-THC cannabis crops must be kept entirely separate from them.
All licensed MMTCs are required by the State of Florida’s Plant Industry Statute XXXV Chapter 581 to strictly monitor their medical and low-THC cannabis crops to identify in time any evidence of pest infestation or disease that may spread to other agricultural areas of the state. These must be immediately stopped through proper fumigation or treatment. They may, however, use only pesticides allowed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) for application on plants meant for human consumption.
The manufacturing of only medical and low-THC cannabis products by licensed MMTCs in Clay County is legal as mandated by the State of Florida’s Statute 381.986.
The manufacturing of medical and low-THC cannabis products is only allowed indoors and should be completely separate from the processing of any other products. Licensed MMTCs are subject to the DOH rules on handling solvents or gases that are potential hazards and to state and federal regulations on solid and liquid waste handling and disposal.
From every batch of medical and low-THC cannabis products that it manufactures, the licensed MMTC is required to take two samples to keep for at least nine months, during which it must have the samples, records, and manufacturing procedures audited by a testing facility approved by the DOH. The following will be analyzed by the testing laboratory:
THC and CBD content
Compliance with potency levels required by the DOH
Absence of contamination
Passability for human consumption
Upon receiving the test results, the DOH may ask the DACS to confirm these against the remaining MMTC samples.
All medical and low-THC cannabis products must be packaged by licensed MMTCs according to the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Each must carry a label containing the following information in wording and fonts that do not in any way resemble those used for products intended for children:
The name of the medical or low-THC cannabis product
The THC and CBD content of the medical or low-THC cannabis product
The harvest number of the cannabis contained in the medical or low-THC cannabis product
The manufacturing batch number of the medical or low-THC cannabis product
The warning that it is illegal to give the medical or low-THC cannabis product to anyone other than the patient it is intended for
The medical cannabis product must also have a leaflet insertion with the following information:
The number of servings or doses contained in the package
The potency of each serving or dosage
The medical uses for the product
Specific instructions on taking the product
Any contraindications of the product
Any potentially hazardous side effects of the product
Additional warnings and safety procedures
Before a licensed MMTC can manufacture edible medical or low-THC cannabis products, it needs to apply to the DACS for a food permit pursuant to the Florida Food Safety Act. The MMTC must meet the same standards required of all other food businesses in the state, including undergoing facility inspection by a nationally recognized body and getting a Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices certification.
All edible medical and low-THC cannabis products cannot exceed a 15% potency variation. Each serving may contain THC of only up to 10 milligrams, with a maximum of 20 servings and 200 milligrams in a package. Each edible medical and low-THC cannabis product must be labeled with an itemized list of ingredients, expiry date, and storage instructions. Licensed manufacturers are prohibited from producing edible medical and low-THC cannabis products that are similar to sweets and other food items that children usually partake of.
Medical and low-THC cannabis products, including edible ones and those meant for smoking, must be in opaque plain white packaging that sports only the MMTC logo approved by the DOH. There must be a clear warning to keep the medical or low-THC cannabis product beyond the access of children. Medical and low-THC cannabis products for smoking must bear a warning that they contain substances that may be hazardous to health when inhaled.
Retail selling of only medical and low-THC cannabis and cannabis products to Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) cardholders by licensed MMTCs in Clay County is legal as stipulated by Statute 381.986 in the State of Florida. The statute permits municipalities to create an ordinance banning licensed MMTC dispensaries within their respective jurisdictions or impose location restrictions and other requirements on them.
Clay County has not banned licensed MMTC dispensaries. However, licensed dispensaries must be located only in the zones allowed for them by Article III on Zoning and Land Use of the County Code and must be more than 500 feet from any school up to the secondary level. Licensed dispensaries may operate only from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. They may not display any advertising and may place only a sign showing their approved business name or approved logo. The trade name or logo must not promote recreational marijuana or contain words or graphics similar to those used in marketing to children. As of March 2023, there were six MMTC dispensaries in Clay County.
The following are the medical and low-THC cannabis purchase limits per MMUR-registered patient in the State of Florida effective August 26, 2022, that a licensed MMTC dispensary must ensure:
|Form of Medical or Low-THC Cannabis||Daily Purchase Limit||70-Day Purchase Limit|
|Edible items||60 milligrams of THC||4,200 milligrams of THC|
|Products for inhalation, such as oil for vaporization||350 milligrams of THC||24,500 milligrams of THC|
|Products for oral ingestion, like capsules and tinctures||200 milligrams of THC||14,000 milligrams of THC|
|Sublingual products||190 milligrams of THC||13,300 milligrams of THC|
|Suppositories||195 milligrams of THC||13,650 milligrams of THC|
|Topical products||150 milligrams of THC||10,500 milligrams of THC|
|Marijuana for smoking||2.025 grams||N/A|
Medical and low-THC cannabis for smoking can only be sold by licensed MMTC dispensaries in the form of whole cannabis flowers, ground cannabis flowers, or prerolled cannabis cigarettes. These may also be purchased by medical cannabis cardholders as a 35-day supply not exceeding 2.5 ounces.
If the patient’s medical condition requires more than the set limits, the physician must submit a Request for Exception form to the OMMU. If approved, the exception will be reflected in the patient’s account in the registry and will be effective for the duration indicated by the physician, but not exceeding 210 days. The physician may also apply for a renewal.
It is the responsibility of the licensed MMTC dispensary to ask for the purchaser’s medical cannabis card and check it on the online MMUR. The licensed dispensary is permitted to provide only the exact form, dosage, and method of administration of medical and low-THC cannabis specified in the patient’s physician’s certification.
Before releasing any purchased medical cannabis item, the licensed dispensary must add the following on its label:
The name of the licensed MMTC
The name of the patient or caregiver
The name of the certifying physician
The medical or low-THC cannabis dosage indicated in the certification
Upon every sale, the licensed dispensary must log the following information in the MMUR:
The time and date of the sale
The identity of the dispensing employee
The identity of the patient or caregiver
The type of medical or low-THC cannabis or accessory sold
The licensed MMTC dispensary must employ a high level of protection, including a security system with video surveillance and alarms that run around the clock. Medical and low-THC cannabis and cannabis products must be stored in a vault or a similarly secure containment area.
The delivery of medical and low-THC cannabis and cannabis products only to medical cannabis cardholders by licensed MMTCs in Clay County is legal in accordance with Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida.
The licensed MMTC must deploy two employees for every delivery. A transit manifest must be created in the seed-to-sale tracking system before any delivery leaves the facility. Every manifest must be kept for a minimum of three years. It must contain the following:
The MMTC name, license number, and address
The identities and signatures of the delivery staff
The medical or low-THC cannabis types and quantities for delivery
The make, model, and license plate number of the delivery vehicle
The patient’s identity and address
The delivery date and the time the purchases leave the facility
The time the delivery was received by the patient
The licensed dispensary’s delivery staff must give the medical or low-THC cannabis item in person to the medical marijuana cardholder who made the purchase. It is prohibited to leave any medical or low-THC cannabis item in a mailbox or any other receptacle. The medical marijuana card of the receiver must be verified before the item is handed over. The purchaser must sign a copy of the transit manifest as confirmation of receipt.
Both seasonal visitors and long-term residents of Clay County can join the MMUR and get a medical marijuana card by applying to the OMMU online or by mail. To be eligible as an applicant, the patient must be examined by a qualified physician from the OMMU list and found to have any of these qualifying illnesses:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Similar medical conditions certified to be debilitating by the physician
If the patient’s diagnosis is in the list, the physician enters the patient’s identity and email address in the MMUR. The doctor will do the same for the patient’s caregiver if one is needed. Caregivers purchase medical or low-THC cannabis for patients who are minors or adult patients who need assistance.
The MMUR will immediately issue an identifying number to the patient and caregiver, respectively. They will also each receive an email providing their temporary password and account login. They must each promptly use these, change their passwords, and complete their applications online, submitting the listed requirements.
For postal applications, the patient and caregiver must download and complete the application forms. These must be sent, along with the same requirements, to the following address:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
The $75 fee may be paid online for online applications. For postal applications, a money order or check must be included, payable to the Florida Department of Health and with the patient’s ID number written on the memo line.
The card will be processed in about 10 working days for online applications. Postal applications will require three to five days more. The card must be renewed 45 days before it expires.
Section 212.08 of the 2022 Florida Statutes shows that medical and low-THC cannabis, cannabis products, and devices used to administer them are exempt from sales tax. The State of Florida and Clay County do not earn sales tax revenues from these items.
Medical and low-THC cannabis sales are high and if sales taxes were levied, tax revenues would have been significant. The OMMU weekly update dated March 17, 2023, showed that from March 10 to 16, dispensaries across the state sold 294,405,058 THC milligrams of medical cannabis and 3,041,936 CBD milligrams of low-THC cannabis.
The data shows a growth in sales. Earlier, the OMMU weekly update dated December 28, 2018, showed that from December 21 to 27 that year, dispensaries statewide sold 45,654,490 THC milligrams of medical cannabis and 1,698,714 CBD milligrams of low-THC cannabis.
Medical cannabis was [legalized in 2017](https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017A/00008Aate (flsenate.gov)) in Clay County. Data from the Clay County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that in the same year, there were 833 drug abuse violation arrests.
In 2019, two years after medical cannabis legislation, there were 906 drug abuse violation arrests. In 2020, the latest available data, there were 729 drug abuse violation arrests.
The following were the DUI arrests in those years:
2017: 162 arrests
2019: 253 arrests
2020: 302 arrests