Polk County Cannabis Overview

  1. Florida Cannabis
  2. Polk County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Polk County?

Yes but, according to Florida’s Statute 381.986 on marijuana, only Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) licensed by the state’s Department of Health (DOH) are allowed to cultivate cannabis. They can only cultivate cannabis that is for medical use. There are currently 14 MMTCs located in Polk County.

Cannabis cannot be grown outdoors in Florida. MMTCs are only allowed to grow medical cannabis in enclosed structures. Cannabis plants must also be kept separate from other plants.

Based on Florida’s Statute XXXV Chapter 581 on the plant industry, MMTCs are responsible for monitoring the cannabis plants and seeds for pests that may threaten the state’s agricultural and horticultural interests. Growers must treat or fumigate the cannabis plants and seeds. They must destroy infestations and infected plants and seeds. Only pesticides deemed safe by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) for use on plants meant for human consumption shall be applied.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Polk County?

Yes but, according to Florida Statute 381.986, only MMTCs licensed by the state’s DOH are allowed to manufacture cannabis products. They can only manufacture cannabis products for medical use.

MMTCs are only allowed to process medical cannabis in enclosed structures. Cannabis plants and products must also be kept separate from other plants and products. DOH rules regarding the use of any gasses or solvents potentially toxic to humans must be followed. State and federal laws regarding solid and liquid waste disposal must also be complied with.

The MMTC must set aside two samples from each batch of homogenous processed cannabis and keep these for not less than nine months. During that time, the MMTC must undergo an audit from a marijuana testing laboratory. The audit shall cover its samples, testing records, and standard operating procedures. The goal is to check whether the products meet the DOH requirements for potency, are accurately labeled regarding the concentration of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, are free of contaminants, and are safe for human consumption.

The marijuana testing laboratory shall provide the audit results to the DOH. The DOH may take samples of cannabis products to verify, with the assistance of the DACS, the findings of the marijuana testing laboratory.

Statute 381.986 requires MMTCs to package cannabis products in compliance with the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. It must have a firmly affixed label that contains the product name, the cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol concentration in the product, and the marijuana’s batch and harvest number. There must be a warning that giving medical marijuana to someone else is illegal. The label must not include any words usually related to products for children.

MMTCs must include product inserts inside the packaging of medical marijuana products. The inserts must contain the following information:

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Use and indications
  • Administration and dosage
  • Dosage types and potencies
  • Contraindications
  • Precautions and warnings
  • Negative effects

Under the Florida Food Safety Act , to be allowed to manufacture edible medical marijuana products, an MMTC must have a medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) edibles food permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS. It must comply with all food establishment requirements and its facilities must be inspected by a nationally accredited body and certified for Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices.

Edible medical marijuana products may not contain more than 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol per single serving, with a potency variation of not more than 15 percent. The entire product must have 200 grams or less of tetrahydrocannabinol. No edible medical marijuana can be in a form resembling candy or any form attractive to children. Edible medical marijuana product packaging must indicate all of its ingredients, the expiration date, and storage instructions.

Edible medical marijuana products and medical marijuana for smoking must be packed in a plain, white, opaque container with no images except for the MMTC’s logo that has been approved by the DOH. It must include a warning that it should be kept away from children.

Medical marijuana products for smoking must include a warning that they contain carcinogens that could negatively impact health.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Polk County?

Yes but, according to Florida Statute 381.986, only MMTCs licensed by the state’s DOH are allowed to sell cannabis. They can only sell cannabis and cannabis products for medical use to qualified patients or caregivers, and only from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Medical marijuana products allowed for sale include edibles and medical marijuana for smoking.

The MMTCs must verify that the patient or caregiver has a valid and active Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR) identification card. MMTCs are allowed to dispense only the type and amount of medical marijuana, and any necessary medical marijuana delivery device, specified by the physician certification for each patient.

MMTCs are allowed to dispense only up to a 70-day supply of medical marijuana for each 70-day period. For marijuana that is smoked, MMTCs are allowed to dispense only a 35-day supply within a 35-day period and only up to 2.5 ounces.

For each sale, the MMTC must record the following in the medical marijuana registry:

  • The name and medical marijuana card number of the patient or caregiver
  • The quantity and form of medical marijuana dispensed
  • The marijuana delivery device type dispensed, if any
  • The date and time of the sale
  • The name of the employee who dispensed the medical marijuana

The MMTC must add the following on the label of each medical marijuana item dispensed:

  • The patient’s name
  • The name of the physician who issued the certification
  • The recommended dose for the item
  • The name of the MMTC

MMTCs must keep dispensaries fully secure with 24-hour video surveillance and alarm system. Medical marijuana must be kept in a vault or locked room.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Polk County?

Yes but, according to Florida Statute 381.986, only MMTCs licensed by the state’s DOH are allowed to deliver cannabis. They can only deliver cannabis and cannabis products for medical use to a qualified patient or caregiver with an MMUR card. Delivery of medical marijuana by MMTCs to the location of qualified patients can be done 24 hours a day.

For each delivery of medical marijuana, MMTCs must generate a medical marijuana transportation manifest from their seed-to-sale tracking system. The manifest must include:

  • The MMTCs name, license number, and address
  • The name and address of the patient
  • The quantity and form of the medical marijuana being delivered
  • The name and signature of the MMTC employees doing the delivery (two employees are required for every delivery)
  • The delivery vehicle’s license plate number, make, and model
  • The date of the delivery
  • The departure time from the MMTC and the arrival time at the destination

The patient or caregiver must receive the delivery and sign a copy of the medical marijuana transportation manifest as an acknowledgment of receipt. MMTCs must keep copies of manifests for not less than three years.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Polk County

Both permanent or seasonal Florida residents can apply for an MMUR identification card if they are diagnosed by a qualified physician to have a qualifying medical condition. The physician will certify that the patient has any of the following conditions for medical marijuana treatment:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other medical conditions comparable in kind or class
  • Patients with terminal medical conditions

Patients at any age can assign a caregiver to help them purchase and administer medical marijuana. A patient who is a minor is not allowed to purchase medical marijuana except through a caregiver. Caregivers can only be entered into the MMUR by the qualified patient’s qualified physician.

The email address of the patient and the caregiver will be entered by the physician into the MMUR. The physician will also provide the patient with an MMUR patient identification number. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use will then send the patient and caregiver an email with their username and another email with their temporary password. Patients and caregivers will use these to log into the MMUR where they can then change their passwords.

Patients and caregivers can apply for an MMUR ID online by logging into the MMUR. They can also apply by mail by printing the application form and sending it with the indicated requirements to:

Office of Medical Marijuana Use

PO Box 31313

Tampa, FL 33631-3313

In both methods, there is a $75 processing fee. For mailed applications, the payment must be included as a money order or check payable to the Florida Department of Health. The memo line must indicate the patient’s ID number. Cash is not accepted.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Polk County?

According to Florida Statute 381.986 Section 212.08, the sale of medical marijuana and any required devices is exempted from sales tax. The state and any of its counties do not, therefore, benefit economically from medical marijuana legalization.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Polk County

Medical marijuana use was [legalized in Florida in 2017](https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017A/00008Aate (flsenate.gov)). According to data from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, drug abuse arrests decreased from 5,084 in 2017 to 2,421 in 2020. On the other hand, DUI arrests increased from 313 in 2017 to 506 in 2020.

Polk County Cannabis