Is recreational cannabis legal in Florida? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Florida? What about Florida's CBD laws? Find out in this article.
Bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and home to warm weather all year round, Florida is one of the most popular tourist locations in the world. Florida earned the nickname of the 'Sunshine State' thanks to its consistently beautiful weather, and for that reason, Florida is considered the boating and fishing capital of the world.
But none of these facts are why you clicked on this article, are they? What you really wanted to know was whether or not you could light up a spliff in the sunshine state, isn't it?
Well, without further ado, here are Florida's weed laws.
Is Recreational Weed Legal in Florida?
Unfortunately, as beautiful as Florida is, you can't smoke weed in the state. Recreational-use cannabis is illegal in Florida, and possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.
The sentence gets much heftier if you're found with over 20 grams, in which instance Floridians may risk a potential fine of $5,000 and a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Florida's anti-marijuana stance began in 1933, when a man named Victor Licata used an ax to kill his family in Tampa, slaughtering his parents and three siblings. At the time, it was believed Licata had also consumed marijuana, which was utilized by the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, (a prelude to the Drug Enforcement Agency) Harry J. Anslinger to promote an anti-marijuana agenda.
Rarely mentioned was the fact that Licata suffered from mental health issues, with Anslinger instead placing his focus on vowing to eliminate what he saw as the "Devil weed." Anslinger went on to play a pivotal role in what would later become the War on Drugs after he drafted the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, that rendered cannabis possession illegal and punishable by imprisonment.
Since then, recreational cannabis use has been illegal in Florida and remains that way to this day. Though the tides are changing, and efforts to change Florida's cannabis laws are underway.
In January this year, District 24 Senator Jeff Brandes, who is also Republican, filed a bill that aims to legalize adult use of marijuana recreationally. The bill, according to Brandes, would expunge cannabis possession crimes from Floridian citizen's records, as well as working to ensure small businesses became involved in the industry.
"The supermajority of Floridians support adult use. I think the legislature should recognize that fact," Brandes said.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Florida?
Medical Marijuana is indeed legal in Florida, provided it is approved by a professional, and you have a qualifying condition.
If you're a Florida citizen, the process to be prescribed medicinal cannabis is relatively simple. In fact, over 300,000 Floridians have been prescribed medicinal cannabis to date. The qualifying conditions are similar to most other states, including epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Crohn's disease, muscle spasms, PTSD and more.
Assuming you've tried the existing medicines to treat your condition and they haven't worked, you may see a doctor who is certified to prescribe medicinal marijuana.
Florida's foray into medicinal cannabis began in 2016 through it's Right to Try act, which allowed terminally ill patients to gain access to medicinal cannabis. Though shortly after, that same year, the State legalized medicinal cannabis for a wider array of non-fatal conditions. At the time, patients were only allowed to consume cannabis oils, pills or vaporize cannabis products, though this changed in 2019.
Unlike many other states, Florida allowed its medical marijuana patients to smoke cannabis to alleviate their symptoms, thanks to Bill SB 182.
This change was made in March 2019, when Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 182 into law, lifting the ban on smoking medical cannabis. The Bill also allowed patients to receive 2 ounces of cannabis flower per month.
Is CBD Legal in Florida?
As is the case with all U.S. states, CBD is, in fact, legal in Florida, provided it contains no greater than 0.3% THC. This is thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which allowed for the cultivation of hemp, and therefore hemp-derived cannabidiol.
Though interestingly, Florida was somewhat ahead of the curve when it came to CBD, allowing medical patients suffering from epilepsy, cancer and other severe symptoms to purchase Charlotte's Web Hemp-derived CBD products for their condition as early as 2014.
Though again, thanks to the Farm Bill, all Floridians can now access CBD products regardless of their health and prior conditions. This is particularly beneficial to the state, known for its high proportion of retiree's who are likely to use CBD to alleviate the health issues which arise through older age.
CBD is said to help a host of conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, and more, though research remains limited outside of the realm of epilepsy. For this reason, the agricultural commissioner Nikki Fried stated the importance of doing the necessary research prior to purchasing CBD products in Florida.
"We know that CBD products can improve quality of life, so it's crucial for public safety that we get this right. I'm glad to hear that the FDA is working with a Florida business. Our state has some of the nation's leading research institutions — Florida is ready to help lead the way on safe, quality CBD," Fried said.
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