Have you ever wondered about cannabis growing and consumption laws in Florida? While the Sunshine State may offer optimal conditions for certain strains, it is illegal to cultivate cannabis. Here we look at how to grow marijuana in Florida, its legality, and recent developments in the law.
Whether you’re looking to start up a small indoor growing space or make use of Florida’s great outdoors, here’s everything you need to know.
Growing Weed outdoors in Florida
Florida’s unique subtropical climate brings its own perks and challenges for outdoor cultivation. As one of the warmest states in the country with high levels of daily sunlight, you can grow many fine strains in the state. However, while cannabis thrives in such warm and sunny conditions, Florida is also exceptionally humid. This limits the number of strains you can grow – but it isn’t a deal-breaker.
When growing in a climate like Florida, you need to take extra care to avoid pests, mold, and mildew. Regular inspection of your crop for yellowing or spotting is a great early step to avoid any catastrophes down the line. One way to mitigate any excess humidity is to control water levels. Watering early in the morning so that the soil surface dries by the evening is a good tip. You can also begin your planting season early. Florida’s least humid period usually falls throughout March, with August being the most humid. As there is very little risk of frost across the state after late February, March is therefore a fine time to plant.
Lastly, you can make use of Florida’s fine sunshine indoors with a greenhouse setup. This will allow you to regulate temperatures, reduce moisture, and produce perfect Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains. What’s more, you can grow regular seeds, feminized seeds, and autoflower seeds across Florida. Beginners are advised to start with autoflowers as these will grow quickly in Florida’s sustained sunshine and heat, but won’t require the care and attention of regular photoperiod seeds.
Best strains to grow in Florida
As a good rule of thumb, Sativa strains and hybrids with Sativa dominance cope very well with Florida’s climate. That’s because these cultivars originated in South and Central America in similarly humid and sweltering environments. They have a natural resilience to the temperatures and humidity that such regions contain. Classic Sativas like Chocolope, Haze and Blue Dream, for instance, cope well in Florida’s outdoors.
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While Florida is often humid across the state, different areas have unique climates. The south is particularly tropical and therefore strains that deal with heat, like Acapulco Gold, are ideal. In fact, these strains thrive the best outdoors in tropical environments that are difficult to replicate indoors without using considerable energy. Only in Florida can you sustain these vibrant crops outdoors. The north of Florida, by contrast, does get cooler but with similar levels of humidity.
Florida weed laws
Florida has some of the toughest cannabis laws in the country. As such, cannabis is illegal in Florida for recreational use, and legal for medicinal use, albeit with must-know restrictions. These harsh laws date back to at least 1933 when a curious local murder case was used as propaganda in a campaign for cannabis prohibition. The individual involved, Victor Licata, suffered from psychosis possibly caused by schizophrenia, a condition that ran in his family. After murdering his family with an axe, the case became a local sensation in the anti-drug movement. Licata’s actual involvement with recreational drugs was anecdotal at best.
The results of this campaign have led to the long-term prohibition of cannabis across Florida. In 2014, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was passed to allow for the use of low-THC medicinal cannabis for seriously ill patients. This was pushed further in 2015 with the Right to Try Act, allowing physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to seriously ill patients as an “experimental medicine”. Further steps have been made on the medical front, but none yet on recreational use.
As for growing marijuana, this is defined as possession in the eyes of Florida law under Section 893.13(1)(a). Despite these strict laws, there is growing public support for legalization. A Public Policy Polling in 2021 saw that a majority of 59% are in favor of recreational legalization. Only 31% were not. What’s more, in 2016, 71% of the electorate voted to legalize medical marijuana across the state with no THC limitations. While these polling numbers haven’t yet transformed into policy, the future looks bright.
Is weed legal in Florida, 2020 – 2021 or decriminalized?
No. Weed is not legal in Florida. Cultivation and possession are classed as third-degree felonies in many cases and can lead to jail time. Some more severe cases can even be charged as a second-degree felony. In the last decade, Florida’s law enforcement agencies have pursued more aggressive campaigns in tackling cultivation across the state. While these pertain to large-scale, illegal operations, any such scale is considered illegal under the eyes of the law. The only exceptions have included medicinal use, but these have still gone to trial.
Even though cannabis is not legal to grow or consume in Florida, possession has been decriminalized in many cities and counties. The following have all introduced legislation to reduce arrests and issue civil citations for minor possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis:
- Alachua County
- Broward County
- Cocoa Beach
- Hallandale Beach
- Key West
- Miami-Dade County
- Miami Beach
- Osceola County
- Palm Beach County
- Port Richey
- Volusia County
- West Palm Beach
Will Florida ever legalize (recreational) weed?
Maybe. There is certainly a rising public backing for the legalization of cannabis across the state in recreational, cultivation, and medicinal forms. All the draft bills and amendments submitted on the issue, however, have so far been blocked. Most recently, the group Make it Legal Florida’s proposal to allow Florida residents the right to possess and use up to 70 grams (2.5 oz) was squashed by the Supreme Court. In the last three submitted cases, Florida’s Supreme Court stated a conflict with federal prohibition laws as the reason for their dismissal.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, in particular, opposes full legalization. While Republicans control Florida, it’s unlikely that change will happen quickly (if at all). Still, the overwhelming success of other states and the economic benefits of new cannabis industries will likely place some stress on Florida. What’s more, if cannabis is legalized on a federal level, it would be harder for Florida to resist legalization as its Supreme Court has leaned heavily into federal prohibition in its verdicts. It is more likely at this stage that decriminalization becomes more widespread than cannabis being fully legalized in Florida.
Florida’s possession laws are as follows
- Possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Possession of 20 grams to 25 lbs of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Possession of 25 to 2,000 lbs of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
- Possession of 2,000 to 10,000 lbs of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.
- Possession of over 10,000 lbs of cannabis is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.
Florida medical cannabis
Florida moved to legalize medical marijuana in 2014. It was a hard and long-fought route for many to get to this stage. Still, there are remaining hurdles and limitations to medical marijuana in Florida, as we’ll see below.
Is it legal to grow (medical) marijuana in Florida?
No. It is legal to possess medical marijuana in Florida, but not to grow it (in most cases). There are many caveats and limitations, however, on what constitutes medical marijuana and where you can buy it. Medical marijuana in Florida must contain a low-THC level of 0.8% or less and no more than 10% CBD. Patients may not hold more than 70 days’ worth of cannabis prescriptions at any time. All medical marijuana should remain in its original packaging, and you cannot possess more than 4 ounces at any one time.
It is technically illegal for medical patients to grow their own crops at home. In a rare exception, a 2018 hearing ruled in favor of a 77-year-old lung cancer patient growing their own cannabis for a juicing regiment. This is an outlier, however, as similar cases have been overruled by Florida’s Department of Health.
Do I need a license or medical card?
Yes. To qualify for medical marijuana, you must be a resident of Florida and be diagnosed with a qualifying condition. At the moment, the following conditions are eligible for marijuana administration:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Comparable conditions, both terminal and non-terminal, on a qualified physician’s advice
Patients are given Registry Identification Cards that allow them to purchase marijuana at a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC). As well as purchasing in-person at a center, you can also book deliveries online across Florida.
How to apply for medical marijuana in Florida?
To apply for medical marijuana, you must first be diagnosed by a qualified physician. If patients are under 18 years old or terminally ill, a diagnosis must also be confirmed by a second physician. Your physician then enters your personal information into the Florida registry to approve orders. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) then confirms your details via email, issuing an ID number and registry card. The fee for this application is $75. Upon approval, you can then order marijuana as you choose from an MMTC. At the moment, the card allows you to purchase a 35-day supply of smokable cannabis or a 70-day supply of edibles, oils, or other cannabis forms.
Grow weed in Florida with Cannabis Seeds from Weedseedsexpress
Florida may well boast an astounding climate for growing healthy outdoor Sativas, but local laws have still got a long way to go. While minor possession has becoming decriminalized in most major urban areas, growing is still an illegal activity that’s treated as a felony. Growers need to be very discreet to avoid any unwanted attention. Grow rooms should be kept as small as possible. While the United States has fast become among the most progressive countries when it comes to legalizing weed, individual states like Florida are not afforded the luxury of fellow states California, Oregon, Colorado, and others.
To get started growing in Florida, you first need the right seeds. Pick from robust and healthy strains from the trusted seed bank Weedseedsexpress. You can choose everything from the latest Californian hybrids to noted Sativa classics like Haze. All good growing operations start with reliable seeds; order now for excellent germination rates.