Florida’s medical marijuana program began in 2014 when the state’s lawmakers passed the Compassionate Use Act. Some people with cancer and medical illnesses that cause seizures or severe, long-lasting muscle spasms like epilepsy were able to use low-THC medical marijuana. Still, this bill had a lot of restrictions.
According to Amendment 2, which voters approved in November 2016, Florida’s Department of Health is in charge of overseeing the production and sales of marijuana. This amendment legalized full-strength medical marijuana for qualified patients with several debilitating medical conditions.
Here are 5 important Florida medical marijuana rules that we will talk about in this post. This is where you can find Florida’s medical marijuana law.
Florida Marijuana Laws At A Glance
- Florida’s medical marijuana program is regulated by The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (the “OMMU”).
- The OMMU is responsible for overseeing and regulating the medical marijuana treatment center licensees (“MMTCs”).
- Florida requires MMTC licensees to utilize seed-to-sale tracking software.
- Adult-use marijuana is not currently legal in Florida.
Law #1: Qualifying Medical Conditions
Law: F.S. 381.986(2) QUALIFYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS.—A patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions to qualify to receive marijuana or a marijuana delivery device: (a) Cancer. (b) Epilepsy. (c) Glaucoma. (d) Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus. (e) Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. (f) Post-traumatic stress disorder. (g) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (h) Crohn’s disease. (i) Parkinson’s disease. (j) Multiple sclerosis. (k) Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated in paragraphs (a)-(j). (l) A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification. (m) Chronic nonmalignant pain.
- Patients who need medical marijuana must see a qualified doctor before they can adequately get and use medical marijuana.
- Suppose the doctor thinks the patient has one of the above-qualified medical conditions. In that case, the doctor will give the patient a physician certification that can be used to apply for a patient card with the OMMU. To buy medical marijuana from an MMTC store, you need a patient card.
Law #2: MMTC Fines, Suspension And Revocation
Law: F.A.C. 64-4.210 (1) Pursuant to Section 381.986, F.S., the department provides within this rule disciplinary guidelines that will be imposed upon licensed MMTCs. The purposes of discipline are to penalize MMTCs for violations; to deter them from future violations; to offer opportunities for correction, when appropriate; and to deter other applicants or licensees from committing violations. (2) The department may suspend or revoke an MMTC license, or refuse to renew an MMTC license, if the department finds that an MMTC committed a violation as provided in Section 381.986(10)(f), F.S. For any such violation, the department may revoke or suspend an MMTC’s license for a period of time based upon the seriousness of the violation. Factors to be considered in determining the seriousness of the violation include: (a) Frequency or number of occurrences; (b) Potential for rehabilitation;(c) Any prior violations; (d) Impact on the department; (e) Potential and/or actual harm to a qualified patient or a member of the public; (f) Willfulness and deliberateness of the violation;(g) Severity of noncompliance; (h) Length of noncompliance; (i) Any good faith effort made to prevent a violation; and (j) Any corrective action taken by the MMTC related to the current violation or prior violations. (3) The department may, in addition to or in lieu of suspension, revocation, and any other penalties imposed under this chapter, impose a fine of up to $10,000 per violation, as set forth in the schedule provided in subsection (9). The schedule of fines is meant to serve as a guideline. The department will use the factors set forth in subsection (2) to determine the amount of the fine to impose within the range outlined in the schedule. The maximum fines listed in the schedule reflect the maximum fines that the department may impose per violation. Where there are multiple incidents resulting in more than one violation of the same provision, the department may impose a fine, up to the maximum, for each violation. For violations that are ongoing and continuous in nature, each day a violation continues constitutes a distinct violation. (4) An MMTC must fully account for all marijuana and must safeguard marijuana in its possession or control during any period of license suspension. During the suspension, the MMTC must maintain its premises in compliance with all requirements set forth in Section 381.986, F.S., and department rule. Following a suspension, the department may allow the MMTC to resume operations after the MMTC has complied with any corrective action directives from the department. An MMTC may resume operations upon its receipt of written notice from the department authorizing the MMTC to resume operations. (5) During any period of license suspension, the department may require an MMTC to place on all of its dispensing facilities in the front window, or on the front door, a notice indicating the length of the suspension and the reasons therefor. The notice shall measure a minimum of 8.5 inches in height by 11 inches in width and the lettering shall be at least 14-point font. The department will create and furnish the notice to the MMTC. The department may require the MMTC to prominently display the notice on the homepage of the MMTC’s website. Such notice shall be maintained in place until the period of suspension ends. (6) The issuance of a suspension under this part does not relieve the MMTC of the obligation to timely comply with all license renewal requirements. A license suspension does not toll the MMTC’s license renewal deadline. (7) No MMTC whose license has been revoked may apply for licensure under Section 381.986, F.S., and this chapter for at least five years from the date of such revocation. However, if an MMTC’s violation of statute or rule is a contributing factor to the death of a patient, the MMTC will be permanently barred from applying for licensure. (8) If an MMTC’s license is suspended or revoked, no part of the application fee, supplemental licensure fee, or renewal fee will be returned. (9) The department will use the following schedule as a guideline for disciplinary fines. The complete statutory requirement may be found by referring to the statutory provision cited.
The Florida medical marijuana law says that if violations happen, the OMMU can stop or revoke an MMTC license or refuse to renew an MMTC license. The type of punishment (fines, suspension, or revocation) will rely on how wrong the violation was and these factors:
- The number or frequency of events
- The chance of healing
- Any past offences
- Changes to the OMMU
- A worthy patient or a public member could or did get hurt.
- Willfulness and intent to break the law
- How bad the failure was
- Time of not following the rules
- Any honest effort made to stop a violation
- Any steps the MMTC took to fix the present violation or previous violations
- For each infringement, the OMMU can charge a fine of up to $10,000. If you break the rules repeatedly, you could get a daily penalty.
- During a licensing delay, an MMTC must keep track of and protect all medical marijuana it has on hand. It must also maintain its building in compliance. Operations can go on as long as the OMMU gives written notice.
- If an MMTC’s license is suspended, the OMMU can tell medical marijuana dispensing facilities that they need to put a sign in the front window or on the front door. The notice needs to be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches and have a writing size of 14 points. It should also be on the home page of the website.
- Even if an MMTC is suspended, it must follow all the rules for renewing its license.
- For at least five years, no MMTC whose license was taken away can apply for a new one. If the violation leads to a patient’s death, the MMTC will never be able to use again.
- You can’t get your fees back.
Law #3: MMTC Application Requirements
Law: F.S. 381.986(8)(b) An applicant for licensure as a medical marijuana treatment center must demonstrate: 1.That, for the 5 consecutive years before submitting the application, the applicant has been registered to do business in the state. 2. Possession of a valid certificate of registration issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to s. 581.131. 3. The technical and technological ability to cultivate and produce marijuana, including, but not limited to, low-THC cannabis. 4.The ability to secure the premises, resources, and personnel necessary to operate as a medical marijuana treatment center. 5. The ability to maintain accountability of all raw materials, finished products, and any byproducts to prevent diversion or unlawful access to or possession of these substances. 6. An infrastructure reasonably located to dispense marijuana to registered qualified patients statewide or regionally as determined by the department. 7. The financial ability to maintain operations for the duration of the 2-year approval cycle, including the provision of certified financial statements to the department. a. Upon approval, the applicant must post a $5 million performance bond issued by an authorized surety insurance company rated in one of the three highest rating categories by a nationally recognized rating service. However, a medical marijuana treatment center serving at least 1,000 qualified patients is only required to maintain a $2 million performance bond. b.In lieu of the performance bond required under sub-subparagraph a., the applicant may provide an irrevocable letter of credit payable to the department or provide cash to the department. If provided with cash under this sub-subparagraph, the department shall deposit the cash in the Grants and Donations Trust Fund within the Department of Health, subject to the same conditions as the bond regarding requirements for the applicant to forfeit ownership of the funds. If the funds deposited under this sub-subparagraph generate interest, the amount of that interest shall be used by the department for the administration of this section. 8. That all owners, officers, board members, and managers have passed a background screening pursuant to subsection (9). 9. The employment of a medical director to supervise the activities of the medical marijuana treatment center. 10. A diversity plan that promotes and ensures the involvement of minority persons and minority business enterprises, as defined in s. 288.703, or veteran business enterprises, as defined in s. 295.187, in ownership, management, and employment. An applicant for licensure renewal must show the effectiveness of the diversity plan by including the following with his or her application for renewal: a. Representation of minority persons and veterans in the medical marijuana treatment center’s workforce; b. Efforts to recruit minority persons and veterans for employment; and c. A record of contracts for services with minority business enterprises and veteran business enterprises.
The following must be shown on initial applications:
- The person applying has been registered to do business in the state for five years before applying.
- Having a legal registration certificate on hand.
- The knowledge to grow weed with low THC.
- The infrastructure needed to hand out drugs.
- Money to keep activities going.
- Do a police check.
- Getting a medical director hired.
- A plan for variety.
Law #4: Inspection And Authorization Procedures
Law: F.S. 381.986(8)(e)(9): Within 12 months after licensure, a medical marijuana treatment center must demonstrate to the department that all of its processing facilities have passed a Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices, such as Global Food Safety Initiative or equivalent, inspection by a nationally accredited certifying body. A medical marijuana treatment center must immediately stop processing at any facility which fails to pass this inspection until it demonstrates to the department that such facility has met this requirement.
(a) The department shall conduct announced or unannounced inspections of medical marijuana treatment centers to determine compliance with this section or rules adopted pursuant to this section.
(b) The department shall inspect a medical marijuana treatment center upon receiving a complaint or notice that the medical marijuana treatment center has dispensed marijuana containing mold, bacteria, or other contaminant that may cause or has caused an adverse effect to human health or the environment.
(c) The department shall conduct at least a biennial inspection of each medical marijuana treatment center to evaluate the medical marijuana treatment center’s records, personnel, equipment, processes, security measures, sanitation practices, and quality assurance practices.
There are specific rules that a Florida medical marijuana treatment centre must follow within a year of getting its license.
Law #5: Packaging And Labeling
Law: F.S. 381.986(8)(e)11.f. and 12; Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64-4 rules, and the MMTC Emergency Rules for packaging and labeling in 64ER-20-32.
Explained: Packaging Requirements
- At the MMTC’s department-approved processing facility, all goods that can be used must be put in a container.
- Before an MMTC gives out the usable product, they must put receptacles inside a box with a patient package insert.
- Before putting usable goods in any container and packing, an MMTC has to get permission from the department to use that container, label, and packaging.
- The plug must not be accessible to children.
- When it comes to edibles and goods that can be used more than once, the container must be resealable to stay childproof after each use or serving.
- All the information on the label(s) must be put on the receptacle clearly and noticeably.
- Pictures of the goods or any other graphics or images must not be on the receptacle. It must only have one picture of the MMTC’s logo and the universal symbol.
- The container could have directions, health information, warnings and safety tips written on it. An MMTC can’t include claims that the usable product can fix any illness that hasn’t been proven.
- Jars for derivative goods that aren’t food must be clear or a single solid colour, and they can’t be neon.
- Some containers must have lids that are the same plain colour or white.
- Food containers and packing must be plain, clear, and white.
- Tobacco goods that can be used must be kept in plain, opaque, white containers.
Explained: Labeling Requirements
- Each receptacle must have a label(s) that are tightly attached and can be read. These labels can only have government-mandated or allowed information on them.
- This means that a MMTC can put as many signs on the container as they need to get the message across that something is required or allowed.
- If you need to label small containers, the labels can be accordion, expandable, extendable, or stacked as long as they don’t get in the way of the necessary information.
- For every product that can be used, the package must have a patient package insert with all the necessary details for the patient or caretaker.
- Each product that can be used may come with the following information on both the patient paper and the package:
Graphics accepted by the MMTC’s management.
- As long as the information sent is legal and can be found on the receptacle label, package, or patient package insert, a Quick Response (QR) code or a similar bar code or smart code can give the patient access to the usable product’s certificate of analysis and information about the usable product that is being given out. Anyone who needs it should be able to get paper copies of the information at a MMTC if asked by a patient or caretaker.
- An SKU, barcode, or other similar number that can be used to identify a product.
- Print the cultivar name in black or white writing that is no bigger than 12 points and uses a sans-serif font.
facts about health, warnings, or how to do something.
- In a MMTC, claims that the usable product can cure any medical disease must not be made without proof.
- Every product that can be used must have the following information on its label:
- This means that the marijuana or low-THC cannabis meets the standards of 381.986(8)(e)10d.
- What the marijuana comes from at MMTC was named.
- The date the marijuana was given out, along with the batch number and harvest number from which it came.
- There is the name of the doctor who signed the certification.
- Which patient’s name is this?
- If there is one, the name of the product and the dose form, along with the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol the product contains.
- Language usually found on goods marketed by or to children may not be allowed in the product name.
- The amount that is suggested.
- A notice that giving medical marijuana to someone else is against the law in this country
- A sign that everyone understands.
- The international symbol must take up at least 10% of the package’s surface area.
Additional Packaging And Labeling Specifications For Edible Products
- Every edible must be sealed in its own plain, opaque, white wrapper that only has the marijuana universal symbol printed on it in a way that takes up at least 10% of the main surface area of the box.
- Any food or drink given out as a single amount must be individually wrapped and put in the container.
- Multiserving candies, lozenges, and gelatins can be wrapped up as single servings or all at once as a multiserving edible and put in the container.
- Each single-serving piece of baked good that makes more than one serving must be individually wrapped and put in the container.
- Each single-serving size of a multi-serving drink powder must be wrapped and put in its container.
- Along with the above requirements, each edible must have a sticker that is visible and securely attached that says the following:
- A list of all the ingredients in the food, ranked by how important they are. This list uses the typical or normal names for food ingredients and names the main allergens in line with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004.
- How to store things.
- A date when it expires.
- A clear and easy-to-read advice to stay away from pets and children.
- A warning that the food has not been made or inspected in line with federal food safety rules.
Additional Packaging And Labeling Specifications For Usable Products In A Form For Smoking:
- It needs to be clean, clear, and white.
- In addition to the above requirements, the receptacle must have a sign that is visible and securely attached that says the following:
- There is a clear and noticeable statement to keep the item out of reach of children.
- A statement that says marijuana smoke may be harmful for your health because it contains chemicals that cause cancer.
- The size of the universal symbol must be at least 10% of the whole package’s surface area.
Labeling For Derivative Products That Are Not Edibles:
- The receptacle must be one single solid colour and may have one additional accent colour.
- This does not include the department-approved logo, universal symbol, and text.
- Neither the primary colour nor the accent colour must be bright.
- The text on a box has to be one solid colour and not neon.
- The universal sign has to be printed on the package, and it has to take up at least 10% of the whole surface area of the box.
- Every ingredient must be listed on the package, in order of importance, unless listed on the container label or patient package insert.
Florida Cannabis Laws FAQS
Q. Is adult use of marijuana legal in Florida?
Florida does not allow adults to use marijuana right now.
Q. How do they tax weed in Florida?
In Florida, no sales tax on medical marijuana is bought in stores. Rule 12A-1.097, F.A.C., says that it is a medical item that is not taxed.
Q. How much marijuana can I buy in Florida?
An MMTC can only give one qualified patient or caregiver a 70-day supply of marijuana in any one 70-day period. They can also only offer one qualified patient or caregiver a 35-day supply of marijuana in a smoked form in any one 35-day period. If the OMMU doesn’t allow an exception, no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a smoked form can be kept for 35 days.