St. Lucie County allows the cultivation of medical marijuana by licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) following Section 381.986 of the 2022 Florida Statutes. Anybody else cultivating marijuana, including home cultivation, violates Section 893.13.
The Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) regulates and licenses MMTCs throughout Florida. Before dispensing, these MMTCs receive authorization at three stages: cultivation authorization, processing authorization, and dispensing authorization.
According to Section 381.986, marijuana may only be grown indoors in a room away from other plants. Pesticides may be used upon consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Meanwhile, any seeds and growing plants that may endanger the state’s agricultural interests must be inspected and fumigation or treatment of plants must be done in accordance with Chapter 581.
MMTCs should be at least 500 feet away from a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school. To ensure the safety and security of MMTCs cultivating marijuana, they shall be equipped with adequate security and video surveillance systems that are fully operational 24 hours daily. Outdoor premises must be well-lit, employees must have proper identification, and implement an alcohol and drug-free working environment. All cases of theft, diversion, or loss of marijuana must be reported to local authorities within 24 hours.
Licensed MMTCs in St. Lucie County are allowed to process or manufacture marijuana. Under Section 381.986, MMTCs may only manufacture marijuana in a room located inside a closed building and away from other plants or goods. Only solvents that are determined by the Department of Health to be safe for humans may be used and all manufactured products must be tested by a medical marijuana testing laboratory. These centers are also responsible for ensuring the proper storage, handling, transportation, management, and disposal of generated waste.
Manufactured products must be packaged and labeled appropriately following the United States Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. In line with Chapter 500, a permit to operate as a food establishment is required from MMTCs producing edibles.
Yes, cannabis retail is legal in St. Lucie County. As of December 2022, the county has a total of 10 licensed dispensaries located mainly in the cities of Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie. Medical marijuana cardholders may be able to buy flowers, vapes, edibles, prerolls, concentrates, topicals, capsules, tinctures, beverages, and accessories from these dispensaries.
Following Section 381.986, cannabis retail is limited to the following:
A maximum of a 70-day supply of marijuana in a given 70-day period
A maximum of one 35-day supply of marijuana in a smoking form in any 35 days
A maximum of 2.5 ounces for a 35-day supply of marijuana intended for smoking
MMTCs are only allowed to dispense medical marijuana from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The employee dispensing a marijuana product is required to verify the buyer from the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR). The date and time of dispensing, amount and form of marijuana dispensed, type of marijuana delivery device dispensed, and name and registry identification number of the qualified patient or caregiver should also be recorded by the employee in the registry upon dispensing.
Section 381.986 allows dispensaries in St. Lucie County to deliver marijuana to actively registered medical marijuana cardholders 24 hours a day. To ensure the safe transport of marijuana and delivery devices, the following requirements must be followed by MMTCs:
All delivery vehicles must have a transportation manifest generated from the seed-to-sale tracking system. The manifest must contain the date and approximate time of departure, name, address, and license number of the MMTC, name and address of the recipient, quantity and form of the transported product, date and estimated time of arrival, delivery vehicle model and license plate number, and name and signature of the delivery employee. A copy of the manifest must also be provided to the receiver.
The product to be transported must be secured in a container inside a vehicle.
Delivery employees should undergo safety and security training.
Delivery employees must wear their employee identification at all times with at least two persons inside the vehicle during transport, and at least one should remain inside the vehicle while the product is delivered to the receiver
St. Lucie County residents who have at least one of the following conditions and are certified by qualified physicians may apply for a medical marijuana card: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, posttraumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, conditions of the same kind, a terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification, and chronic nonmalignant pain.
Application may be done online by logging in to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. A photo of the applicant, proof of residency, signature, and payment will be asked to complete the application. Meanwhile, the paper application may be done by printing and accomplishing a patient or caregiver application form and then mailing it to:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313
The applicant may expect to receive their official medical marijuana card via mail once approved. For assistance, the department may be reached via 800-808-9580.
Medical marijuana became legal in St. Lucie County after the state legalized its use in 2016. Since then, Florida’s medical marijuana market continued to grow with St. Lucie having at least 10 licensed MMTCs. As of December 2022, the state has recorded a total of 776,365 qualified patients, 2,630 qualified physicians, and 501 dispensaries. In one week, it has sold a total of 267,535,125 milligrams of THC, 2,801,496 milligrams of CBD, and 97,894.864 ounces of marijuana in smoking form. While there is no excise tax on medical marijuana sales, the state imposes a 6% retail sales tax on all marijuana purchases which is collected from the buyer at the time of purchase.
Crime rates in St. Lucie County decreased after it legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2016. According to reports, crime rates in the county dropped to 8.8% in 2021 despite a population increase of 3.5%.
Since 2017, the number of arrests based on driving under the influence (DUI), marijuana possession, and marijuana sale has decreased statewide. According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, from having 32,697 DUI arrests, 135 arrests for possession, and three arrests for sale, arrests are now down to 29,126 for DUI, 16 for possession, and one for sale in 2020.