Cannabis cultivation is legal in Lake County because of the state of Florida’s Statute 381.986. It limits cannabis cultivation, however, to medical marijuana. Businesses must apply to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) under the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to become licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). There are still no licensed MMTCs in Lake County.
Statute 381.986 allows only low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content cannabis. It defines this as cannabis that contains only 0.8 percent or less THC by weight. It allows cannabis that contains even more than 10% cannabidiol, though.
Cannabis must be grown in an enclosed space, apart from other plants, by authorized MMTCs. According to Florida's Statute XXXV Chapter 581, growers of medical marijuana are obligated to monitor their cannabis seeds, flowers, and plants. This will enable them to quickly spot any infestations that can harm the state's agriculture. Any pests need to be treated or fumigated right away. Only pesticides that have been approved for use on plants intended for human consumption by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) may be used by growers.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Lake County only to process medical marijuana products, as mandated by Florida’s Statute 381.986. Only licensed MMTCs have the legal authority to do this.
MMTCs with a license are required to prepare their medical cannabis separately from any other goods they manufacture inside enclosed premises. Any processing involving the use of potentially hazardous solvents or gases must adhere to DOH regulations. When disposing of liquid and solid waste, they must adhere to all applicable state and federal legislation.
Two samples of each batch of medical marijuana that has been processed must be kept by the authorized MMTCs for at least nine months. A marijuana testing facility authorized by the DOH must audit the MMTC, its standard operating procedures, testing records, and samples within that time frame. The inquiry must vouch for the items' purity, adherence to DOH potency standards, appropriate labeling of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations, and safety for human consumption. The DOH will get the audit results from the marijuana testing facility. The DACS can also help the DOH by using samples from the MMTC to confirm the results.
According to Statute 381.986, medical marijuana products must be packed in accordance with the 1970 Poison Prevention Packaging Act of the United States. Labels that are firmly attached to the package must be printed with the product's name and its cannabidiol and THC content, as well as the lot and harvest codes of the cannabis. It must be made explicit that it is illegal to give medical marijuana to another person. Any terms that are regularly used to characterize children's products are not permitted on the label.
Each medical marijuana item’s package must have a product insert with the following information, which must be included by the licensed MMTC:
The medical marijuana product's clinical pharmacology
The number of doses included in the medical marijuana product and their potency
The grounds for using marijuana products for medical reasons
Methods for consuming or using the medical marijuana product
Warnings against using medical marijuana products
Risks associated with using medical marijuana products
Extra precautions and warnings
According to the Florida Food Safety Act, a licensed MMTC must get a separate food permit from the DACS in order to produce edible medical marijuana products. To be qualified, a licensed MMTC must fulfill the same standards as food companies, consent to a factory inspection by a body with national accreditation, and acquire a certificate in Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices.
For edible medical cannabis products, the maximum concentration variation allowable is 15%, with a THC cap of 10 milligrams per serving. There can be no more than 200 grams of THC in a single package. The complete list of the product's ingredients, its expiration date, and storage recommendations must be printed on the packaging of edible medical cannabis products. Any edible medical cannabis products that are targeted toward children or have a candy-like appearance are prohibited.
Consumable or smokable medical marijuana products should be packaged in plain, opaque white packaging. The only imagery that may be used on the container is the MMTC logo, which has received DOH approval. The label of the product must contain a caution to keep children away from it. Furthermore, safety warnings that mention the possibility of chemicals harmful to one's health being present in medical marijuana products intended for smoking are mandatory.
Florida’s Statute 381.986 makes cannabis retail by licensed MMTCs legal in Lake County for medical marijuana and medical marijuana products that include dried cannabis flowers, tinctures, oil, capsules, smokable marijuana, vape products, edibles, topicals, and suppositories, among others. Retail operations are allowed only from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and medical cannabis can only be sold to patients and caregivers who hold a Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) identity card.
Licensed MMTCs are obligated to inspect the patient's MMUR ID card in order to determine the type and dosage of medical marijuana prescribed by the doctor as certified in the register. Only the specific medical marijuana strain, dose, and required medical cannabis delivery system recommended to the patient may be sold to them. Before any products can be bought, they must all be covered by a doctor's prescription.
Each patient may only receive a 35-day supply of medical marijuana meant for smoking from the licensed MMTC. For every 35 days, this should not go beyond 2.5 ounces. For other medical marijuana products, a 70-day supply may be given to each patient by the licensed MMTC once every 70 days.
Medical marijuana for sale also has the following daily THC concentration restrictions per person as of August 29, 2022:
In the case of edibles, 60 mg
For topical medications,150 mg
For sublingual tinctures and suppositories, 190 milligrams
For capsules and tinctures, 200 milligrams
For vape items, 350 mg
Each medical cannabis product that the licensed MMTC sells must bear the following information on its labeling:
Patient's or caregiver's name
Identification of the certifying doctor
Recommendations for dosage for the medical cannabis product
Every sale must be documented in the MMUR. The MMTC must record the following information:
The sale's time and date
The name of the distributing worker
The patient or caregiver's name
The type and quantity of medical cannabis bought
The type of medical cannabis delivery system bought, if applicable
MMTCs with licenses are responsible for upholding strict security at their locations. They must keep the medical cannabis in a vault or a similar safe place. A 24/7 security infrastructure with cameras and alarms is required for the dispensary's protection.
Florida’s Statute 381.986 makes medical cannabis delivery by licensed MMTCs legal in Lake County. They are permitted to deliver 24 hours a day but only to patients and caregivers who hold MMUR ID cards.
The authorized MMTC is required to deploy two staff for each delivery. The MMTC's seed-to-sale tracking system must first be used to establish a medical cannabis transportation manifest. Every manifest that the MMTC creates must be retained for a minimum of three years.
Each transportation manifest for medical cannabis must contain the following:
The MMTC’s identity, address, and license number
The delivery staff names and signatures
The medical cannabis type and amount for delivery
The patient’s identity and exact location
The delivery vehicle’s license plate number, brand, and model
The delivery date
The time of departure from the MMTC and time of arrival at the patient’s address
The patient or caregiver must receive the medical marijuana goods in person. After that, the recipient must attest that they received the package by signing a copy of the medical cannabis transportation manifest.
A permanent resident or seasonal visitor to Lake County may acquire an MMUR ID card by applying with the OMMU. They must first seek and be examined by a medical marijuana-qualified licensed physician approved by the state, and be diagnosed to have at least one of the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana treatment. These are:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Other medical conditions similar to the ones listed above
Medical conditions that are terminal
If a patient needs help from a caregiver to buy medical cannabis, the physician will determine that. Because minor patients are not allowed to purchase medical cannabis by themselves, they must have a caregiver. Sometimes adult patients may also need assistance. The physician enters in the MMUR the patient's information, the names of any caregivers, and their email addresses. The MMUR then provides the patient's unique identification number.
The OMMU will send an email to the patient and caregiver containing their username and temporary password. Using these, they can enter the MMUR to change their password and finish the application process, including paying the $75 processing fee online.
Patients and caregivers can also opt to apply by mail by printing the application form. They must fill it up and send it with the enclosed requirements and a check or money order for the processing fee made out to the Florida Department of Health with the patient’s ID number on the memo line. This must be mailed to:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
According to Statute 381.986 Section 212.08, there is no sales tax for medical cannabis and medical cannabis delivery devices sold to patients and caregivers in Lake County and all of Florida State.
If taxes had been imposed on medical marijuana sales, tax revenues would have been high due to the high sales volume. From July 6 to 13, 2018 alone, according to the OMMU’s posted update, 29,470,708 milligrams of medical cannabis were sold by licensed MMTCs. About four years later, from July 29 to August 4, 2022, sales of medical cannabis by licensed MMTCs reached 243,358,822 milligrams.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2017 in Florida. On the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported that there were 570 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2017. This decreased to 507 arrests in 2020. DUI arrests also decreased from 129 in 2017 to 119 in 2020.