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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FLORIDA’S CANNABIS POLICIES IN 2022

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FLORIDA’S CANNABIS POLICIES IN 2022

Florida and cannabis have a pretty chequered history and present. It is one of only 19 states to still imposes prison sentences for possession of small quantities of weed, and while there have been several legislative measures filed in the previous 12 months which would reduce penalties to simple fines, none have passed so far. And while there are medical marijuana laws in place, they remain some of the strictest in the country. Let’s take a deeper look at everything you should know about cannabis laws in Florida.

CURRENT PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION

Small quantities: an individual caught carrying up to 20 g of cannabis can be charged with a misdemeanor offense and jailed for a maximum of one year with fines totaling no more than $1000. Possession of any quantity above 20 g is considered a felony offense and the penalties only get harsher as increase.  

Larger quantities: for amounts between 20 and 25 g an individual can be incarcerated for up to 5 years with a maximum fine of $5000, between 25 g and 2000 lbs can land you in prison for up to 15 years with fines of $25,000, any amount over 10000 lbs can see you go away for 30+ years with fines of $200,000.

One important factor to keep in mind is that if you are caught with any quantity (even under 20 g) within 1000 feet of the school, college, park, or other specified areas where children may be then you may face a felony arrest and $10,000 in fines.

Several cities across the state have introduced ordinances to allow officers the discretion to replace arrests for small quantities with citations and on-the-spot fines, but the decision is totally in the hands of the officer. However, it is fully legal to buy and possess cannabis seeds in Florida.

MEDICAL CANNABIS IN FLORIDA

In 2014 THE Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act passed allowing physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, but this bill was extremely limited allowing only cancer and epilepsy patients access to low THC and mid-range CBD products.  In 2016, Florida residents voted on amendment 2 which dramatically increased the list that would qualify a patient for medical marijuana to include many of the same conditions covered by other states. This amendment also offered much more protection for qualifying patients, caregivers, physicians, and medical cannabis dispensaries and their staff from legal prosecution or civil lawsuits under Florida State law

In 2021, the cannabis policy reform group “Florida for Care“ commission a poll which showed that 59% of Florida residents back the recreational legalisation of cannabis, with 58% showing support for the expansion of the medical cannabis industry in Florida, and again 58% against any form of limitations on THC percentages. This poll also showed that the widespread support for the medicinal cannabis program has grown from 71% to 76% in the past five years.

Following this poll, the Florida House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee discussed and subsequently passed a bill that allows the sale of cannabis buds up to 10% THC, and extracts up to 60% THC.

While Florida may still be behind many other states in terms of recreational usage laws, many residents and lawmakers are hopeful that this will change by the end of 2022. This will be dependent on upcoming elections, but with a push at the Federal level for further cannabis reforms, we may see the whole country become legal for recreational use soon enough.

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