Legal recreational marijuana could be a reality in Florida. What to know

June 6, 2023 · Yahoo!News

Brandon Girod, Pensacola News Journal

Tue, June 6, 2023 at 10:50 PM GMT+7·7 min read

Florida voters will finally have the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana usage after a proposed initiative received almost one million verified signatures, allowing it to officially qualify for the 2024 general election ballot.

The measure has received more than 967,000 valid signatures, according to Smart & Safe Florida, the campaign pushing the measure and backed by Trulieve, one of Florida’s biggest medical marijuana providers. The petition needed 891,523 valid signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

If the measure passes in next year’s election, it would allow anyone 21 years old and up to use and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana among a slew of other changes to the state’s current marijuana laws.

Here’s what Florida voters need to know to make an informed decision in 2024.

What does Florida’s new recreational marijuana ballot measure legalize?

The ballot would legalize marijuana for adults age 21 or older for personal use, to possess, use, process and transport marijuana, marijuana products and accessories. It also allows cultivating nine live marijuana plants per adult with an eighteen-plant maximum per household.

Here’s a full look at what the amendment would and wouldn’t do.

Legalizes for adults:

  • Cultivation of nine live marijuana plants with an eighteen-plant maximum per household.
  • Possession, use, process, display and make marijuana products.
  • Purchase of up to 3 ounces of marijuana at a time and no more than five grams of cannabis concentrates.
  • Transport of marijuana, marijuana products and accessories for personal use.

Also: The legislature would not be allowed to enact laws to limit the Tetrahydrocannabinol content of marijuana or marijuana products.

What to know:

  • The amendment would not affect or repeal Florida Statutes 112.0455 2020, known as the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
  • There are no required accommodations for any on-site use of marijuana in correctional institutes, detention facilities, places of education, employment or smoking marijuana in public places.
  • It will still be unlawful to operate any vehicle, aircraft, train or boat while under the influence of marijuana.
  • The amendment would not give immunity to federal laws.

The petition can be read in full here, which fully outlines the proposed constitutional amendments.

What are Florida’s marijuana laws?

While medical marijuana is legal in Florida, there are still many laws in place that prohibit the possession, selling and transporting of marijuana, marijuana products and accessories. NORML, a group that has advocated for cannabis since 1970, succinctly lays out Florida’s current marijuana laws.

Florida marijuana possession laws

Possession charges can have a wide range of penalties. Possessing 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor charge that could lead to one year of jail time and a $1,000 maximum fine. Possessing more than 20 grams becomes a felony and could result in up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Incarceration times go all the way up to 30 years and fines can reach as high as $200,00.

Possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park or other specified areas is a felony with a mandatory three-year jail sentence and fines up to $10,000.

Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Florida marijuana sale laws

Selling 20 grams of marijuana or less without remuneration is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Selling more than 20 grams is a felony charge punishable with jail time up to 30 years and $200,000 in fines, depending on the volume and whether the sale occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, park, college or other specified area.

What about hash and concentrates in Florida?

Possession of hashish or concentrates and selling, manufacturing or delivering these products are felony crimes that can face up to 15 years in jail with fines ranging between $5,000 and $10,000.

Can I get a DUI after smoking or eating marijuana?

All states criminalize driving under the influence of controlled substances. Laws regarding driving while impaired range depending on jurisdictions.

Driving while impaired

All states criminalize driving under the influence of controlled substances. Laws regarding driving while impaired range depending on jurisdictions.

Where is marijuana legal in Florida?

Some Florida municipalities have made efforts to reduce or eliminate local penalties for marijuana-related violations. NORML has identified over 120 cities throughout the country in the past decade that have passed ordinances reducing those penalties.

In Florida, 15 municipalities have enacted such laws:

  • Alachua County
  • Broward County
  • Cocoa Beach
  • Hallandale Beach
  • Key West
  • Miami Beach
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Orlando
  • Osceola County
  • Palm Beach County
  • Port Richey
  • Sarasota
  • Tampa
  • Volusia County
  • West Palm Beach County

Is weed legal in Florida? Here’s what to know about marijuana laws in the Sunshine State

Trulieve backs recreational pot: Trulieve spending big on Florida recreational ballot measure

Can you buy recreational marijuana in Florida now?

No. Per Florida Statute 381.986, residents must have a medical marijuana card issued by the state after patients receive a recommendation from a certified physician.

Can you go into a dispensary without a medical marijuana card?

No, you can’t walk into a medical marijuana dispensary in Florida without a card. However, there are a few exceptions.

Patients already registered in the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) registry who don’t have their medical marijuana card on their person can use their driver’s license instead.

Designated caregivers of qualified patients can get authorization to get a separate state caregiver ID card through a certification process. Starting on June 12, non-close relatives applying for a caregiver ID must complete a level 2 background screening through a Livescan Service Provider.

Can visitors buy marijuana in Florida?

No. Florida does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards. Seasonal Florida residents qualify for a state medical marijuana card, provided they can show proof of residence and live in the state at least 31 consecutive days each year.

How can you get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card in Florida is a three-step process involving a diagnosis from a qualified physician for certain medical conditions, registering in Florida’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry and applying for a registry ID.

Step 1

Anyone interested in getting medical marijuana card should look and see if they have one of the qualifying medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed.
  • 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.

The OMMU provides a tool where users can then search for a nearby qualified physician who can provide a diagnosis and recommendation.

Step 2

Once qualified, the patient’s physician will enter them into the registry. The patient must provide the physician with their email to receive a username and temporary password.

Step 3

Patients must then complete an electronic or paper application to receive an ID card. Once an application is approved, a physical ID card will be mailed to the patient. However, a physical medical marijuana ID card isn’t needed to shop at dispensaries. Patients can place orders with their driver’s license. (Full Story)

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