Yes. The State of Florida requires marijuana growers to obtain cultivation licenses before they can legally grow marijuana. It is illegal to grow marijuana on private residential properties in the State of Florida. Florida’s marijuana cultivation authorization is bundled with its marijuana treatment center license and is not issued exclusively.
Per Florida Statutes Section 381.986, only licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MTC) may cultivate marijuana in the state. The Florida Department of Health issues marijuana treatment center licenses. Florida’s MTC licenses permit organizations to grow, process, transport, and dispense low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and engage in cannabis delivery devices. At the inception of the MTC program, the Department of Health licensed only ten new marijuana treatment centers. Currently, it issues four new licenses for every 100,000 new medical marijuana patients that register with the state’s medical marijuana program. As of June 2023, there are 22 MTCs in Florida. However, the state intends to double that number as it calls for applications for new licensees in April 2023.
In accordance with state laws, Florida requires all medical marijuana treatment centers to show the technical and technological ability to grow marijuana. They are also required to prove the ability to secure their premises and hire appropriate personnel needed to grow marijuana. MTCs must equally maintain accountability for all raw material, finished products, and other byproducts to prevent unlawful access or diversion. The medical marijuana treatment centers are only permitted to make bulk purchases of marijuana if they can convince the Department of Health that their harvest failed.
Several rules apply to MTC when cultivating marijuana in Florida. These include:
Florida has only one type of marijuana cultivation license, which comes bundled with the MTC license. MTC licenses permit MTC to grow marijuana on the state-recommended scale. Licensed MTCs in Florida practice vertical integration. As such, they must cultivate, process, and transport their marijuana products.
Licensed marijuana treatment centers are the only legal entities permitted to grow marijuana in the State of Florida. As stipulated in Florida Statutes Section 381.986, only qualified staff above 21 years who have passed a level 2 background check in line with the state laws are permitted to work in marijuana treatment centers. Generally, staff of MTC's do not require special permits to grow marijuana. However, the MTCs are required to provide appropriate training on the cultivation and handling of marijuana and marijuana products to their staff. Florida does not permit felons or individuals with prior criminal records to work in a marijuana treatment center.
To obtain a marijuana cultivation license, interested parties must apply for an MTC license as this is the only license in Florida that permits a marijuana business to cultivate marijuana.
Per Section 381.986(8)(a), F.S., the Department of Health is responsible for issuing licenses to marijuana treatment centers. To apply for an MTC license, an applicant must complete the Application for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Registration Form and submit it to the Department of Health for processing. MTC licenses are issued biennially and applicants must adhere to the application's requirements, blind grading, format, and organization as prescribed on the application form. Completed applications must be submitted with the following:
Completed license application forms and supporting documentation should be hand-delivered to:
The Department of Health
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
4052 Bald Cypress Way
The Department of Health will review submitted applications and then notify applicants with incomplete applications within 15 days of receiving the applications. Applicants with incomplete documentation are required to provide any missing document within five days of receiving such notifications.
If an applicant's documentation is complete, the application is forwarded to subject matter experts for review and scoring. A team of seven subject matter experts in different relevant fields will then review and score relevant sections of the application. These experts will analyze, evaluate, and score applications using the Scorecard for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Selection Form. Subject matter experts involved in this process include:
Each applicant's score from each section is added to give the applicant's overall score. Applicants who do not pass the background check or meet the minimum scores for cultivation, processing, marijuana dispensing, security, or general operations, will not be included in the final application ranking. Per Section 381.986(8)(a)3., F.S., applicants with facilities used for canning, concentrating, or processing of citrus fruits will receive 35 additional points.
Licenses are issued to applicants who:
Under Section 381.986(8)(a)2, F.S., 10 licenses are to be issued at the start of the medical marijuana treatment center program. The law requires that priority be given to the following categories of applicants:
Preference is given to applicants that qualify to be licensed and demonstrate in their applications that they own facilities used for the canning, concentrating, or processing of citrus fruit. If two applicants score an equal number of points in the evaluation, the applicant with the highest score in Financials - certified documents, Financials - Business Structure, Diversity Plan, and Accountability- Operations in order of priority is selected.
Once a license application has been approved, the applicant must within ten days:
Florida marijuana cultivation license is bundled with the MTC license. The MTC license permits interested parties to grow, process, and dispense medical use marijuana in the state. In December 2022, Florida raised the MTC license fee from $60,830 to $146,000 payable with a cashier’s check made out to the Florida Department of Health. An MTC license is valid for 2 years before it is due for renewal. The state also raised the renewal cost of an MTC license from $60,000 to $1,332,124.42.
Yes. Generally, the MTC license permits license holders to grow marijuana in Florida. It also allows them to process, produce, retail, and dispense marijuana in the state. However, MTC license holders are not eligible for the Florida marijuana testing license, the other marijuana business license available in the state.