Cannabis is only legal for medicinal purposes in Hillsborough County. Recreational marijuana is prohibited in Florida, and as such, it is not legal to cultivate cannabis for recreational purposes anywhere in the state. Florida medical marijuana statutes allow for the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state. However, medical marijuana can only be legally cultivated in Hillsborough County by licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs). A medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) is a vertically integrated facility licensed by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis. Hillsborough County’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Ordinance-17 was enacted in 2017 to regulate the provision of medical marijuana to registered patients and caregivers in Hillsborough County.
It is not legal to manufacture cannabis products in Hillsborough County for recreational purposes. Cannabis is only legal in Florida for medical purposes, and cannabis products can only be legally manufactured by medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) licensed by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use of the Florida Department of Health. Only registered patients of the state’s medical marijuana program or their caregivers can obtain or receive cannabis products from MMTCs.
The retail of recreational marijuana is prohibited in Hillsborough County, as in the rest of the State of Florida. Florida statutes only allow for the retail of medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis to patients and caregivers registered on its Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR). Patients and caregivers with active registrations on the MMUR may purchase up to a 70-day supply of medical marijuana from licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers in Hillsborough County. Ordinance-17 regulates the operations of medical marijuana retail establishments in the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County to ensure adequate supplies of medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers are empowered by Ordinance-17 to deliver medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis to registered patients or their caregivers in Hillsborough County. Only active registrants on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry are eligible to receive medical marijuana deliveries. It is illegal to deliver cannabis for recreational use in Hillsborough County.
Medical cannabis was legalized in Florida in 2016 when the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 2) was approved by over 70% of voters. This created the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) and enabled the patients in the registry to possess up to a 70-day supply of cannabis-infused oils and edibles. Initially, smokable marijuana flowers were illegal in Florida, but this was allowed in 2019 with the passage of Senate Bill 182 (SB-182).
In Florida, only eligible medical marijuana patients and caregivers can apply to be registered on the Medical Marijuana Use Registry and receive medical marijuana cards. To be eligible to register with the MMUR in Hillsborough County, the applicant must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida. They must also have been diagnosed with any of the qualifying medical conditions by a qualified physician duly licensed in the state. The medical conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana in Florida are:
Patients must visit and be treated by qualified physicians who will diagnose if their medical conditions are treatable using medical marijuana. If a physician approves a patient for the use of medical marijuana, the patient’s details will be added to the MMUR. Approved patients will receive email notifications from the MMUR with their login details (usernames and passwords). With these, applying patients must complete their registrations and registry card applications.
Applications can be completed online or by using the Patient ID Card Application Form. To complete their registrations, patients must also provide all the necessary supporting documentation and pay a $75 processing fee. The necessary documents required for registration are passport-style photographs and valid proof of the patients’ Florida residency.
Applications made using the paper forms should be mailed to:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
P.O. Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
Persons who submit their registry ID card applications online will typically be approved within 10 business days of their submissions, and then medical marijuana cards will be dispatched to these patients or their caregivers. Applications submitted by mail may take additional 3 - 5 working days to accommodate postal deliveries.
Medical marijuana patients in Hillsborough County can appoint designated caregivers to procure and administer medical marijuana on their behalf. Minors applying for registration on the MMUR must designate adult caregivers who will obtain and administer medical marijuana for them. All designated caregivers in Hillsborough County must be registered with the MMUR. Once a designated caregiver has been appointed, the consulting physician will add them to the patient’s profile on the MMUR. The caregiver will then complete and submit a Caregiver Application Form to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to finalize their registration.
Medical marijuana registry ID cards in Hillsborough County are valid for one year and must be renewed annually to remain active. A medical marijuana card can only be renewed 45 days prior to the card’s expiration date and not earlier. Medical marijuana card renewals can be processed online or by submitting a Patient Application Form to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). Applicants using paper forms must indicate that these are renewal applications where required. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) provides instructions for the initial applications (online|paper) and renewals of medical marijuana cards.
Recreational cannabis has not been legalized in Hillsborough County, and marijuana is only available legally for medical use. There are no local excise taxes applicable to medical marijuana sales, and all tax revenue from medical marijuana goes to the state government. Therefore, the legalization of medical marijuana hardly has very little effect on the economy of Hillsborough County.
Recreational cannabis is illegal in Hillsborough County and only registered patients in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) can obtain cannabis legally. However, in line with several other communities in Florida, Hillsborough County decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana in 2020. Illegal possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana will result in only a citation with a fine (up to $500) or community service for an offender unable to pay. Decriminalization of marijuana offenses has led to fewer arrests for marijuana-related offenses in Hillsborough County. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) recorded 0 arrests for marijuana-related crimes in 2019 and 2020.