In Duval County, it is illegal for residents to cultivate cannabis for medical or recreational use. However, approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) may cultivate cannabis on a commercial scale. Such cannabis cultivation by MMTCs, pursuant to Florida's Compassionate Medicinal Cannabis Act, may only be for medical marijuana production purposes. In accordance with the Florida Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, cannabis is a Schedule I restricted drug. Therefore, an individual found illegally cultivating cannabis may be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 under Florida Statute 893.13.
Duval County residents and marijuana establishments are not permitted to manufacture cannabis products for recreational use. Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC), on the other hand, may manufacture cannabis products as long as the products are meant for medical purposes. Illegal cannabis manufacture in Duval County is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in jail and up to $50,000 in fines, depending on the number of cannabis plants discovered in the offender's possession.
The retail sale of recreational cannabis is illegal in Duval County. Only medical marijuana may be purchased or sold by licensed medical marijuana treatment centers. No MMTC may sell medical cannabis to any customer without verifying that the individual is of legal age and registered in the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
Only medical marijuana treatment centers may deliver cannabis in Duval County. No individual or other cannabis establishment may deliver adult-use cannabis or medical marijuana to consumers within the county’s borders.
A medical marijuana card in Duval County is a State of Florida-issued identification card enabling the cardholder to legally purchase and use THC and CBD products from state-licensed MMTC dispensing facilities for the treatment of certain medical conditions. To be eligible to obtain a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, the applicant must be aged 21 or older. Duval County residents younger than 21 are permitted to designate caregivers, who must be 21 or older, to assist in their application process.
The MMJ card may be obtained by a permanent or temporary Duval County resident. Seasonal Duval County residents who want to obtain a medical marijuana card in the county are required to reside in the county or another Florida location for a minimum of 31 consecutive days in each calendar year and maintain temporary residences in the state. When applying for an MMJ card as a seasonal resident in Duval County, the applicant must provide acceptable photo identification and two of the following documentation:
To commence the application for an MMJ card, the applicant must schedule an appointment with a qualified medical practitioner in order to obtain a medical cannabis certification. To prepare for the appointment, the applicant is advised to gather relevant medical records and valid photo identification, which the healthcare practitioner will require. At the appointment, the healthcare practitioner will ask questions and conduct some tests to verify that the applicant suffers from one of the approved conditions for medical marijuana in Florida before issuing a certification.
Applicants may use the physician search tool or review the approved healthcare practitioners list on the Florida OMMU website to find healthcare practitioners authorized to issue medical cannabis certifications under the Florida medical marijuana program. Pursuant to SB 8A, the following are the approved medical conditions for medical marijuana in Florida:
After the healthcare practitioner determines that an applicant qualifies to use medical marijuana, the physician will provide a recommendation to the Florida Department of Health. Following receipt of the recommendation, the Department of Health will send an email, with access credentials to the state's medical marijuana use registry, to the applicant. Subsequently, the applicant may use the access credentials to log onto the registry to complete their application. During that process, the applicant will be required to pay a state-mandated $75 application fee.
For applicants who prefer paper applications, the MMJ card application process may be completed by:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
P.O. Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
Online applications typically require 10 working days to be approved but may take up to 21 business days in certain circumstances. Persons applying by mail are advised to allow for an additional 3 to 5 business days for their MMJ cards to arrive in the mail. Patients and caregivers may check on the progress of their MMJ card applications by calling (800) 808-9580 or visiting the Medical Marijuana Use Registry's website.
Although adult-use cannabis is not legal in Florida, the state's economy still benefits from marijuana taxation through revenues earned on taxes on medical cannabis sales. MMTC dispensary facilities have also provided direct employment for Floridians and indirect jobs in other areas of the state economy. According to an independent study, medicinal marijuana sales in Florida totaled $626 million in 2018 and will likely reach $1.6 billion in 2022 as demand grows. According to OMMU data, Florida's total medical marijuana patients has increased from 167,211 in December 2018 to 716,498 in May 2022, showing an almost four-fold growth. Florida gained an average of 3,000 medical marijuana patients every week as of December 2020, making it the country's biggest medical marijuana industry by sales.
Another independent study reported that cannabis sales in Florida topped $1.2 billion in 2020, placing the state behind California and Colorado in total cannabis sales. Note that both Colorado and California have existing recreational cannabis markets.
With adult-use cannabis not yet legal in Duval County, the impact of the legalization of cannabis on crime rates in the county can only be measured with respect to medical marijuana legalization. According to statistics obtained from the Federal Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Uniform Crime Reporting program, DUI and drug arrest rates in Duval County have increased since the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative permitted wider access to medical cannabis in Florida in late 2016.
In 2017, Duval County recorded 1,703 DUI arrests and 4,510 drug arrests. Duval County recorded increased DUI and drug arrest rates in the following year, with 1,764 DUI arrests and 5,846 arrests for drug-related offenses. In 2019, the arrest rates for DUI and drug arrests were 1,797 and 6,412, respectively.