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However, several cities including San Diego and Miami have introduced new reforms to apply lesser penalties as the state begins to loosen cannabis laws.
While cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in Florida, the Sunshine State became the first southern U.S state to legalise the plant in any form when they first introduced medical cannabis back in 2016.
As mentioned, medical use was first legalized in 2016 thanks to a constitutional amendment making Florida the first southern state to adopt proactive measures relating to cannabis law.The initiative was overwhelmingly approved with 71% of the total votes cast and with its introduction, medical marijuana can now be cultivated and dispensed to qualifying patients.
But is it legal to grow cannabis in Florida?
In this article, we explore the relevant cannabis laws in Florida relevant to possession, consumption and cultivation.
Unfortunately, recreational cannabis use remains illegal in the state of Florida. Possession of up to 20 grams is considered a misdemeanour offence, punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1000, as well as the suspension of one’s driver’s license.
Under the legislation, those with debilitating medical ailments as determined by a licensed state physician may qualify to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some of the conditions that qualify for medical cannabis use in Florida include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, amongst others
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 saw the plant banned in Florida, along with the rest of the country. Although public perception was largely negative throughout the 1940s, by the 1950s and 60s, hippy culture had taken root – and cannabis was taken up by Florida’s hip young citizens.
Selling cannabis is also illegal in Florida. If the offender is caught trying to sell 20 grams or less, then the maximum prison sentence is one year, with a $1,000 fine. Selling 25 lb or less is a felony, and can result in up to five years in prison, plus a $5,000 fine. Anything over 25 lb but under 2,000 lb is punished with a three to 15-year prison sentence and a fine of $25,000.
Since Congress removed hemp from their list of illegal drugs, CBD has been technically legal to use, sell, and buy in Florida. It must come from a licenced grower, and it isn’t allowed to contain more than trace levels of THC (the substance responsible for providing a ‘high’).
It took a long time for cannabis to make its way to Florida. Elsewhere in the country, the plant’s popularity grew significantly during the prohibition period (the 1920s), but Florida took a little while longer to fully embrace it.
In fact, Florida was one of the first to embrace cannabis. The Miami Pop Festival (which was held a year before Woodstock) was full of people smoking it, along with performances by Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, and Jimi Hendrix.
If you are travelling to Florida (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:
By the end of the 1960s, Florida was known as the US’s cannabis smuggling capital, with the drug regularly entering the ports. This continued throughout the following decade, though as well as gaining a reputation for trafficking the drug, the state was also renowned for growing it too.