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

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Escambia County?

Yes. Only the indoor cultivation of medical marijuana by Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) is legal in Escambia County following Article X Section 29 of the Florida Constitution and Section 381.986 of the Florida Statutes. Personal cultivation by qualified patients or their caregivers violates Section 893.13 of the 2022 Florida Statutes.

The Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) licenses and regulates MMTCs to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense marijuana. These centers may not be within 500 feet of any public or private elementary, middle, and secondary schools. MMTCs must comply with the following rules during cultivation:

  • Only pesticides approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) may be used for plants intended for human consumption.

  • Plants may only be cultivated in an enclosed area, separate from other plants.

  • Seeds and plants must be consistently inspected for pests, and fumigation or treatment should follow Chapter 581 of the 2022 Florida Statutes.

The technical and technological ability to cultivate marijuana is required from MMTCs before the license application. This may be supported by a valid certificate of registration issued by the FDACS for cultivating more than 400,000 plants.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Escambia County?

Yes, by law, MMTCs in Escambia County are allowed to process or manufacture medical marijuana within an enclosed establishment. All facilities and equipment for processing marijuana must be inspected by an accredited certifying body and pass the Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices.

Toxic solvents, as determined by the department, are strictly prohibited from being used for processing marijuana. All processed medical marijuana must be tested to prove its safety for human consumption. The packaging used should comply with the United States Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. These packages must be appropriately labeled with the following information:

  • Name of the dispensary from where the product was purchased

  • Batch and harvest number of the medical marijuana

  • A statement that the products are safe for human consumption

  • Name of the certifying physician

  • Name of the patient

  • Product name, including its dosage form and concentration

  • Recommended dose

A minimum of two samples from each processed batch must be retained for at least nine months. These will be used for testing in line with the auditing of products. Proper disposal of waste generated during the process should also be followed.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Escambia County?

Yes. Escambia County has licensed dispensaries that offer medical marijuana products, including flowers, inhalers, edibles, concentrates, topicals, transdermals, vapes, and accessories. Only qualified patients or their designated caregivers registered in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) may purchase from these dispensaries from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Following Section 381.986, the dispensary may dispense a maximum of 70-day supply in a given 70-day period. For marijuana in a smoking form, a maximum of 35-day supply in a given 35-day period may be dispensed.

Employees of the dispensaries must confirm the buyer’s active registration in the MMUR before dispensing. The date and time of dispensing, amount and form of marijuana and device issued, and the buyer's name and registry identification number should be recorded by the employee in the registry.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Escambia County?

Yes, medical marijuana cardholders in Escambia County or their designated caregiver may have marijuana products delivered to them by licensed MMTCs 24 hours a day. Under Section 381.986, delivery services must maintain a transportation manifest with the following information to ensure the safe transport of marijuana products:

  • Date and time of departure

  • Name, address, and license number of the MMTC

  • Name and address of the recipient

  • Amount and type of marijuana to be delivered

  • Date and time of arrival

  • Type of delivery vehicle and license plate number

  • Name and signature of the delivery personnel

This transportation manifest should be signed by the delivery recipient. A copy must be kept by the MMTC for at least three years. Additionally, the following rules must be followed during the delivery of medical marijuana:

  • Delivery vehicles must be in good working condition.

  • All marijuana products should be kept in a securely locked compartment within the vehicle.

  • Delivery employees must wear their identification cards at all times.

  • At least two employees should be present during delivery, and one should always remain inside the vehicle.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Escambia County

Escambia County residents may apply for a medical marijuana card by first acquiring a certification from a qualified physician. A patient may qualify if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Cancer

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV / AIDS

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Conditions of the same kind as above

  • A terminal illness diagnosed by another physician

  • Chronic nonmalignant pain

Afterwhich, the qualified physician may enter the patient’s information into the MMUR. The application may then be completed online or via mail. For mail applications, the patient or caregiver application form must be accomplished and sent to the following address:

Office of Medical Marijuana Use

PO Box 31313

Tampa, FL 33631-3313

The applicant will receive their official medical marijuana card via mail once approved. For inquiries, the department may be reached via 800-808-9580.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Escambia County?

Together with the legalization of medical marijuana in Escambia County is the imposition of a 6% retail sales tax by the state, which contributes to its economy. Around $20 million to $40 million in sales were recorded by the state just a year after its legalization in 2016.

Based on current trends and records, Florida’s medical marijuana market continues to grow. As of November 2022, the state now has 766,629 qualified patients, 2,607 qualified physicians, and 491 dispensaries. In a span of one week, it has sold a total of 282,404,547 milligrams of THC, 3,414,433 milligrams of CBD, and 90,300.635 ounces of marijuana in smoking form.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Escambia County

Medical marijuana became legal in Escambia County when Florida legalized its use in 2016. According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, crime rates in the entire state in 2021 decreased compared to data recorded in 2017. From having 32,697 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests, 135 arrests for marijuana possession, and three arrests for marijuana sale, it is now down to 30 DUI arrests, 19 arrests for possession, and one arrest for sale in 2021.

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