Is Cannabis Legal in Florida?

Medical Marijana is legal in Florida, but Adult-use marijuana is not yet legal in Florida. Find out laws about Cannabis dispensaries in Florida.

Since January 2023, 7 states have legalized recreational cannabis, with more states projected to do so in the future.

The laws, licenses and restrictions around the use, possession and distribution of recreational cannabis depends on where you’re based and the regulations in your state.

It’s also important to note that there is a difference between dispensing cannabis for medical purposes, versus dispensing it for recreational use.

In this article, we’re going to take you through whether medical cannabis is legal in Florida, and whether recreational cannabis is also legal.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Florida?

In Florida, cannabis can be sold for medical purposes. However, there are several restrictions and limitations around this.

In 2014, the Florida legislature approved the Compassionate Use Act, starting the state's medical marijuana program. However, it only allowed low-THC medical marijuana for certain conditions like cancer and seizures. 

In 2016, Florida voters passed Amendment 2, which expanded the program to include full-strength medical marijuana for patients with various serious medical conditions. The Department of Health was tasked with overseeing marijuana production and sales.

When it comes to getting and having possession of medical cannabis, patients need to have a physician’s recommendation if they’re buying “more than three 70-day supply limits of marijuana or more than six 35-day supply limits of marijuana in a form for smoking”.

There are licenses medical cannabis dispensaries have to get in Florida before being able to open and sell to customers.

Is Recreational Cannabis Legal in Florida?

At the time of writing, recreational cannabis is illegal in Florida.

This means that it’s illegal to be in possession of cannabis for recreational purposes, and it’s illegal to dispense recreational cannabis.

In Florida, there has been a shift towards legalizing recreational cannabis in public opinion. In recent polls, 57% of voters are in favor of making recreational cannabis legal – so keep an eye on what’s going on in your state, as things can change quickly.

Key takeaways on whether weed is legal in Florida:

  • The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), part of the Florida Department of Health, oversees and regulates the state's medical marijuana program.
  • The OMMU is in charge of supervising and regulating licensees known as medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs).
  • Florida mandates that MMTC licensees must use seed-to-sale tracking software.
  • Currently, adult-use marijuana is not legal in Florida.

How Do People Buy Medical Cannabis in Florida?

People need a physician’s recommendation to buy a certain amount of medical cannabis in the state of Florida. Patients need to see a qualified doctor first to be able to get cannabis in Florida. If the doctor confirms that the patient has one of the listed qualifying medical conditions, they will give the patient a certification. This certification is needed to apply for a patient card from the OMMU, and this card is necessary to buy medical marijuana from a dispensary.

This physician should issue a certificate allowing the individual to obtain medical cannabis to help them with their health concerns.

There is also a list of conditions which people must have to be able to get medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

These conditions are as follows:

  •   Cancer;
  •   Epilepsy;
  •   Glaucoma;
  •   Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus;
  •   Acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
  •   Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  •   Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  •   Crohn’s disease;
  •   Parkinson’s disease;
  •   Multiple sclerosis;
  •   Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated in paragraphs

o   A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification

o   Chronic nonmalignant pain.

Also, customers are only able to buy medical cannabis from a properly licensed dispensary, otherwise, they will be breaking the law.

Therefore, if you’re looking to set up a medical cannabis dispensary in Florida, your first step should ideally be to get the licenses you need to set up shop.

How to Package and Label Medical Cannabis in Florida

When it comes to dispensing medical cannabis in Florida, there are certain rules you need to follow, in line with the appropriate laws and regulations.

Legal Reference: Florida Statute 381.986(8)(e)11.f. and 12; Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64-4 rules; MMTC Emergency Rules for packaging and labeling in 64ER-20-32.

Explanation: Packaging Requirements of Cannabis in Florida

  • All usable products must be placed in an approved receptacle at the MMTC's processing facility.
  • Receptacles should be inside a package with a patient package insert before dispensing the usable product.
  • Before using any receptacle, label, or package, the MMTC must get approval from the department.
  • The receptacle must be child-resistant.
  • For multi-use products and multi-serving edibles, the receptacle must be resealable and remain child-resistant after each use.
  • Important label information must be clearly displayed on the receptacle.
  • The receptacle should not have product depictions or extra graphics, except for the MMTC's approved logo and the universal symbol.
  • The receptacle may include instructions, health info, or warnings, but cannot make unproven claims about curing medical conditions.
  • Receptacles for non-edible derivative products must be a single solid color or clear, not neon.
  • The lid of a receptacle, if applicable, must match the same single solid color or be white.
  • Wrapping for edibles must be plain, opaque, and white.
  • Receptacles for smoking products must be plain, opaque, and white.

Promoting your Medical Cannabis Dispensary or Business

Promoting and marketing your medical cannabis business can be difficult, depending on the state you live in. In a crowded market like Florida's, dispensaries face challenges in marketing due to strict advertising rules. Despite the hurdles, more retailers are using marketing strategies to connect with new customers and build their brand, making it a tough task in a saturated market.

Some rules around promoting medical cannabis in Florida are:

  • The Department of Health must approve all ads.
  • Ads should not target people under 18.
  • No cartoon characters or similar things in ads.
  • Pop-up ads are not allowed.
  • Opt-in marketing must have a clear opt-out feature.

This may mean you can’t make certain claims about the effects and benefits of your products, or you might not be able to use bright or exciting colors or greens in your branding, as this may be seen as promoting recreational cannabis use.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure you know what the laws and regulations are in your state, so you’re able to market and promote your products effectively and well, whilst staying on the right side of the law with your brand, marketing and communications.

What are the Restrictions on Dispensing Medical Cannabis in Florida?

There are several government departments and schemes which oversee the dispensing of medical cannabis in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use – also known as the OMMU – are the governing body when it comes to the possession, use and dispensing of medical cannabis.

This department then regulates the companies distributing medical cannabis – who are known as medical marijuana treatment center licensees.

When it comes to businesses looking to dispense medical cannabis in Florida, they must use seed-to-sale tracking, as this is mandatory and specified in law.

With dispensing medical cannabis in Florida, as it is a medical item listed under Rule 12A-1.097 F.A.C, sales tax doesn’t apply.

There are many other restrictions and laws to consider when dispensing medical cannabis in Florida, so it’s important to do your research before setting up your business – and it’s always worth staying up to date with any changes to the laws.

What Licenses do you Need to Dispense Medical Cannabis in Florida?

As we touched on above, to dispense medical cannabis in Florida, you need to be a licensed MMTC – a Medical Marijuana Treatment Centre. Without this license, you won’t be able to dispense your products.

There are three types of authorization you need, in order to be licensed. These are as follows:

  1. Cultivation;
  2. Processing;
  3. Dispensing.

Once you’re authorized to do all of the above, you’ll be able to start up your business dispensing medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis.

As we’ve already explained, you need to be sure that you’re dispensing to the right people, which is why it’s so important to stay in the loop with the laws on who can get marijuana and low-THC cannabis, as well as who can dispense it.

Your Dispensing Process and Premises in Florida

When you’ve applied for and obtained all the proper licenses, it’s important to focus on how you’ll get customers, and how to ensure they stick around.

If there are several other licensed medical marijuana and cannabis dispensers in your area, it’s essential to establish a good rapport with your customers, and make sure their experience in your dispensary is positive.

This can entail several different things – but, in line with laws, it’s important to remember that your customer’s experience and journey will naturally be slowed down by having to check people’s physician recommendations and other necessary documentation.

In these situations, it’s a good idea to get creative, thinking about how you can make the experience more fun and how you can keep customers entertained while they’re waiting to be served – and this is definitely something you can research before setting up your dispensary.

Get in Touch

If you’ve got all the necessary licenses in place and you’re ready to set up your medical marijuana and cannabis dispensary in Florida, adhering to all the rules and regulations, we can help.

At Seed Technology, we provide screens for medical cannabis dispensaries, either for entertainment, or to showcase your products, to give your customers some options to consider while they’re waiting to be served.

Once you’ve created marketing materials that adhere to the law in your state, we can help you get them up in your dispensary with our range of screens.

When customers have time to wait before being served, they’re going to search for something to look at or focus on – and that’s the perfect time for them to have a look over the products you offer!

Also, entertained customers are less likely to be annoyed about a longer wait time, and a happy customer is always a good thing.

So, if you’re looking for in-store entertainment technology for your medical cannabis dispensary, get in touch today.



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