The answer to the question ‘is marijuana legal in Florida’ is a disappointing, No. Not only is it a No – there are still draconian laws on the books which prevent legal cannabis in Florida.

Early in the 2020 legislative session, Sen. Jeff Brandes (R) introduced a bill — SB 1860 — to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. A companion bill — HB 1389 — was also introduced in the House.

Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned its session in March without taking action on the bills, and an effort to put legalization on the ballot for voters to decide on in 2020 also failed.

How draconian are Florida’s pot laws?

  • Possession of small amounts is illegal: Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • Sale or delivery qualifies as a felony: Sale or delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified area is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000. The sale of 25 pounds or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, the delivery of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Is medical marijuana legal in Florida?

Medical marijuana permitted: An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from one or more of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition

To qualify, a patient must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida, be entered into the medical marijuana use registry, and obtain a medical marijuana ID card. You can learn more about the requirements to become a patient here. Patients can purchase marijuana from registered marijuana dispensaries, called Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers

When will marijuana be legal in Florida?

This table is a compilation of marijuana policy reform in Florida

1978The Florida Legislature enacted the Therapeutic Research Program, which was never operational. The program would have required federal permission and would have involved pharmacies dispensing marijuana to cancer and glaucoma patients. It was repealed in 1984.
1991In Jenks v. State, the First District Court of Appeals allowed two seriously ill HIV/AIDS patients to raise a medical necessity defense to marijuana cultivation and drug paraphernalia charges. The court found that the defendants had met the burden of establishing the defense at trial and reversed the trial court’s judgment and acquitted the defendants.
1998The same First District Court of Appeals upheld the medical necessity defense again in Sowell v. State, even after the legislature made a slight change to its Schedule I statutory language that was unfriendly to the use of medical marijuana
2012Simultaneous bills HJR 353 and SJR 1028, a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana in Florida, were introduced by Rep. Jeff Clemens (D – Lake Worth) and Sen. Larcenia J. Bullard (D – Miami) but never voted on. This marked the first time that medical marijuana bills were filed in both the House and the Senate.
2014The “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014” allows specified physicians to issue orders for certain patients, allowing them to use low-THC cannabis, which is defined as having no more than 0.8% THC and more than 10% CBD. It requires the Department of Health to create a registry of patients and to authorize five organizations to grow and dispense the cannabis. Requiring doctors to issue “written orders” rather than recommendations or certifications puts them at risk under federal law.
Advocates were able to get a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Since it was a constitutional amendment, it needed 60% or more of the vote to pass. Unfortunately, it only got 57.6%.
2015Local governments began opting to allow officers to cite, rather than arrest, adults found in possession of marijuana.
2016Amendment 2 – which established a medical marijuana program – passed with a popular vote of 71%.
20172017: In special session, the legislature passed SB8A to regulate Amendment 2, and implementation is underway by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use within Florida’s Department of Health.
In June 2017, Gov. Scott signed the Industrial Hemp Pilot Projects Bill, which gives Florida A&M University and the University of Florida permission to conduct research pilot projects on growing and selling hemp. Nearly two years later, in May 2019, the Florida Legislature passed a bill enabling the commercial production of hemp. Florida had its hemp regulatory plan approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April 2020.
2019The legislature enacted SB 182, repealing a ban it had previously instituted on smoking medical cannabis.
June 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 7107 to allow a cannabis-derived drug for children with epilepsy. The bill changes that specific drug’s classification in state law from a Schedule I substance to Schedule V.

Recreational Marijuana in Florida

  • Florida has some of the harshest recreational marijuana laws in all of the United States. The possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor with one year imprisonment and a fine of $1,000. Possession, use, or sale of anything greater than 20 grams is charged as a felony with prison time ranging from five years to 30 years and up to $200,000 in fines.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Marijuana

  • A mandatory minimum sentence is when a judge must sentence the defendant to at least the outlined mandatory minimum amount of jail time for violating a specified law.

Hash, Concentrates and Paraphernalia

  • Being caught in possession of hash can result in up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Selling, delivering, or manufacturing hash is also a felony, and carries the same penalties as a possession.
  • Marijuana concentrates hold the exact same penalties as hash, with possession, sale, and/or delivery resulting in five years of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
  • “Marijuana paraphernalia” is any product used as an accessory for using marijuana, such as pipes and bongs. The possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, with Florida marijuana law punishing those in possession of paraphernalia with up to one year of jail time and a $1,000 fine.
  • Drivers in Florida are forbidden from using their car or some other type of motor vehicle if there is any detectable level of THC and/or marijuana in their system. If you have recently consumed marijuana, even if it is legally obtained medical marijuana, do not operate a motor vehicle under any circumstances.
  • While hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
  • Even for first-time offenders, the cultivation of cannabis for any purpose is considered a felony in Florida.
    • If found cultivating fewer than 25 plants, it is considered a third-degree felony punishable by incarceration up to five years and fines up to $5,000.
    • If an individual is the owner of the property where more than 25 plants are being illegally cultivated, the offense is charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison.
  • Florida’s Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in March 2016, permits certain dispensing organizations to grow and distribute cannabis.

Local Decriminalization of Marijuana in Florida

Several local jurisdictions that have passed resolutions or laws that decriminalize the possession of marijuana or other cannabis products. For example, in Miami-Dade County, possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana only comes with a $100 fine.

What To Do Since Marijuana is not legal in Florida?

If you are planning a Cannabis Vacation, consider a visit with Happy Travelers Tours in the heart of Northern California’s Wine-and-Weed Country. Book one of our up-close-and-personal Tours with Cannabis Plants!