Cannabis cultivation in Okaloosa County is legal only for medical cannabis and low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis by virtue of the State of Florida’s Statute 381.986. Low-THC cannabis is defined by the statute as having only up to 0.8% THC content by weight, with no CBD content limits. Medical cannabis is defined as the regular cannabis plant but applied exclusively to medical uses.
In the State of Florida, a company may only cultivate medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis after acquiring a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) license from the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) of the Florida Department of Health (DOH). The MMTC license authorizes the running of cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensary licenses.
In Okaloosa County, Section 2.20.10 of the Code of Ordinances prohibits any cannabis activities, including cultivation activities, not licensed by the Florida DOH and allowed by state law. Also, licensed MMTCs are required to first acquire from the Okaloosa County Tax Collector a business tax receipt. Their facilities must be more than 500 feet from any school up to the secondary level in both unincorporated and incorporated areas of the county. Medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis and their respective products may not be consumed within licensed MMTC facilities and their sidewalks, parking spaces, and right-of-way spaces. The Okaloosa County Growth Management Department and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office are responsible for enforcing these regulations.
Only the indoor cultivation of medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis by licensed MMTCs is allowed by the state statute. Cannabis crops must be kept completely apart from other types of crops.
Statute XXXV Chapter 581 of the State of Florida’s Plant Industry mandates that licensed MMTCs implement strict monitoring over the medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis crops to detect at once any signs of disease or pest infestation that may also infect agriculture throughout the state. These must be promptly and completely eradicated through correct treatment methods or fumigation. Licensed MMTCs may use only the pesticides that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has approved for application on crops intended for people to consume.
Cannabis manufacturing in Okaloosa County is legal but limited by Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida to medical cannabis products and low-THC cannabis products processed by licensed MMTCs. All licensed MMTCs must be compliant with Section 2.20.10 of the Okaloosa County Code of Ordinances, as previously discussed.
Licensed MMTCs must do all cannabis manufacturing indoors and separately from any other goods. They must comply with the rules of the DOH regarding gases and solvents that may be potentially hazardous. Their management and disposal of liquid and solid waste are subject to federal and state regulations.
Two samples from every batch of manufactured cannabis products must be taken by the licensed MMTC and set aside for not less than nine months. Within that period, the licensed MMTC must undergo an audit of its manufacturing processes, records, and samples by an independent testing laboratory with DOH approval. The laboratory will test the following:
The products’ levels of THC and CBD
The products’ potency compared with DOH potency requirements
The products’ purity from contaminants
The accuracy of the products’ labels
The products’ safety for human ingestion
After the DOH receives the test report, it may request confirmation from the DACS using the remaining samples of the licensed MMTC.
The packaging of all products manufactured with medical and low-THC cannabis must be in accordance with the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. All packages must be plain white, opaque, and without any images except for the DOH-approved licensed MMTC logo.
Each product must be labeled using words and fonts that are not similar to those used in products sold for children. The labels must contain the following:
The product’s name
The quantity of THC and CBD contained in the product
The medical or low-THC cannabis harvest number
The product’s manufacturing batch number
A warning that it is prohibited by law to give the product to anyone other than the purchasing patient
A warning to keep the cannabis product away from children
An additional warning must be added to cannabis products meant for smoking, stating that it contains substances that, when inhaled, could be a health hazard
A leaflet containing the following must be included with every medical and low-THC cannabis product package:
The number of doses or servings in the pack
The potency in every dose or serving
The product’s medical applications
Instructions on administering the product
Product contraindications, if any
Side effects of the product that may be hazardous, if any
Other warnings and necessary safety precautions related to the product
To manufacture edible products with medical and low-THC cannabis, a licensed MMTC is required to apply separately for a food permit from the DACS in accordance with the Florida Food Safety Act. This means going through the same requirements as other food businesses statewide, such as inspection of the facilities by a nationally accredited authority and acquiring certification for Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices.
Licensed MMTCs are prohibited from manufacturing edible cannabis products that are similar to candy and other treats that children are fond of. A maximum of 15% variance in potency is allowed for edible products containing medical and low-THC cannabis. Every package of edible cannabis can contain only up to a maximum of 200 THC milligrams divided into 20 servings of only up to 10 THC milligrams each. Also, every package of edible cannabis must have the following added to the other information on its label:
Complete ingredient listing
Instructions on storage safety
Cannabis retail in Okaloosa County is legal but restricted by the State of Florida’s Statute 381.986 to the sale of medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis and their respective products by licensed MMTC dispensaries to cardholders of the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR). Municipalities are allowed by the statute to ban the presence of licensed MMTC dispensaries within their territories through ordinances. Okaloosa County allows licensed MMTCs and their dispensaries to operate within its jurisdiction provided they comply with all the requirements of Section 2.20.10 of the County Code of Ordinances, as mentioned earlier.
Licensed MMTC dispensary stalls in commercial buildings with multiple tenants are allowed in Okaloosa County, but not mobile stores. Drive-through or drive-by dispensary selling services by licensed MMTCs are likewise forbidden. All transactions must be done inside the premises of the dispensary, except for deliveries. As of March 2023, there were eight licensed MMTC dispensaries in Okaloosa County.
Statute 381.986 requires licensed MMTC dispensaries to be highly protected, implementing a 24-hour security system with alarms and CCTV surveillance. All medical and low-THC cannabis and products must be secured in a vault or a similarly locked structure.
Since August 26, 2022, every MMUR-registered patient in the state has been subject to the following purchase limits for medical and low-THC cannabis and their respective products from a licensed MMTC dispensary:
|Form of Medical or Low-THC Cannabis||Daily Purchase Limit||70-Day Purchase Limit|
|Edible products||60 milligrams of THC||4,200 milligrams of THC|
|Items for inhalation, such as oil for vaporization||350 milligrams of THC||24,500 milligrams of THC|
|Items for oral ingestion, like capsules and tinctures||200 milligrams of THC||14,000 milligrams of THC|
|Sublingual formulations||190 milligrams of THC||13,300 milligrams of THC|
|Suppositories||195 milligrams of THC||13,650 milligrams of THC|
|Topical formulations||150 milligrams of THC||10,500 milligrams of THC|
|Marijuana for smoking||2.025 grams||N/A|
Licensed MMTC dispensaries are only allowed to sell medical and low-THC cannabis for smoking as prerolled cigarettes, ground flowers, and whole flowers. MMUR cardholders may purchase these according to the daily limit or in a 35-day supply limit of 2.5 ounces.
The state-qualified physician who registered the patient in the MMUR must complete a Request for Exception form if the patient needs more than the purchase limits of medical or low-THC cannabis. An approved exception will be effective for the time period stated by the physician, with a maximum of 210 days. The physician may then apply for a renewal. All these are viewable by the licensed MMTC dispensary online as a guide to dispensing.
The licensed MMTC dispensary staff is responsible for checking, for every purchase, the medical cannabis card against the MMUR online. Only the medical or low-THC cannabis form, dosage, and administration indicated in the physician’s certification online may be sold to the specific patient.
The licensed MMTC dispensary staff must add the following on the label of each medical or low-THC cannabis item before release:
The MMTC name and license number
The purchasing patient’s or caregiver’s name
The patient’s certifying physician’s name
The dosage of medical or low-THC cannabis stated in the physician’s certification
After each sale, the same must be recorded in the MMUR by the licensed MMTC dispensary staff, with the following added:
The sale date and time
The dispensing employee’s name
The sold medical or low-THC cannabis item or accessory
Cannabis delivery in Okaloosa County is permitted by Section 2.20.10 of the County Code of Ordinances but limited by Statute 381.986 of the State of Florida to the delivery by licensed MMTCs of medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis and their respective products to medical cannabis cardholders only.
With every delivery, the licensed MMTC must send two employees carrying a copy of the transit manifest issued through the seed-to-sale tracking system. Manifests must be on file for not less than three years. It contains the following information:
The name, address, and license number of the MMTC
The delivery employees’ names and signatures
The types and quantities of medical or low-THC cannabis in the delivery
The delivery vehicle model, make, and plate number
The name and address of the purchasing patient
The date of the delivery
The time the delivery leaves the MMTC facility
The time the delivery is received by the purchaser
The medical or low-THC cannabis item must be handed over in person by the delivery employee to the purchaser after checking the purchaser’s medical cannabis card. The delivery employee is prohibited from leaving the cannabis item anywhere. The recipient must sign a copy of the transit manifest to prove receipt of the delivery.
Residents of In Okaloosa County, and even seasonal guests, may apply online or by mail to the OMMU to get an MMUR card. A physician qualified by the OMMU must diagnose the patient to have any of the following illnesses that qualify for medical or low-THC cannabis treatment:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Similar medical conditions
The physician will enter into the MMUR the patient’s and any needed caregiver’s name and email address, along with the physician’s certification on the patient’s medical or low-THC cannabis treatment. A caregiver is needed to purchase from a licensed MMTC dispensary if the patient is a minor or an adult requiring help. The physician’s registration will produce unique registry ID numbers for the patient and the caregiver, respectively.
The patient and caregiver will each receive an email with an account login and temporary password. It is important for them to immediately activate these, customize the password, and complete the registration with the required documents. These may be done online or the forms may be printed and mailed with the requirements to the:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
There is a $75 fee per person that may be paid online or included in the mail in the form of a check or money order made out to the Florida Department of Health with the memo line bearing the applicant’s registry ID number.
Online applications take around 10 business days while a three-to-five-day extension must be expected for mailed applications. The card is renewable 45 days before its expiration date.
The 2022 Florida Statutes Section 212.08 exempts medical and low-THC cannabis, their respective products, and the accessories needed for their methods of administration from sales taxes. No tax revenues are earned by Okaloosa County and the State of Florida from them.
Had sales taxes been imposed, earnings would be substantial. According to the weekly update of the OMMU dated March 24, 2023, statewide sales of medical cannabis from March 17 to 23 reached 283,472,636 THC milligrams while sales of low-THC cannabis reached 3,187,599 CBD milligrams.
This is a significant increase from sales reported in the weekly update of the OMMU of December 28, 2018, where statewide sales for the week of December 21 to 27 reached 45,654,490 THC milligrams for medical cannabis and 1,698,714 CBD milligrams for low-THC cannabis.
In (https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017A/00008Aate (flsenate.gov)), medical cannabis was legalized in Okaloosa County. Data from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that there were 1,716 arrests for drug abuse violations in that year.
In 2019, two years after legalization, there were 1,591 drug abuse violation arrests.
In the latest available data, in 2020, there were 1,406 arrests for drug abuse violations.
The following were the DUI arrests in those years:
2017: 302 arrests
2019: 290 arrests
2020: 400 arrests