Florida’s many claims to fame lean heavily toward the recreational — endless white sand beaches, lively nightclubs throughout Miami, watersports galore, and, of course, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Not to be overlooked: the adorable, official state marine mammal, the manatee, and orange groves that scent the air for miles (most U.S. citrus fruits are cultivated in Florida).
Yet for all of its success as a beacon for rest, relaxation, and retirement, the Sunshine State has cast storm clouds on recreational use of marijuana — and overturned a ban on smokable medical marijuana after a protracted court battle. On March 18, 2019, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill allowing patients to actually smoke their medical weed. Previous lawmakers had banned smoking medical marijuana, but allowed cannabis in capsules, oils, edibles, and vapes.
It’s been a twisty road to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. And adult-use remains illegal. So before you head out on a Florida sightseeing trip expecting to toke up, make sure you know all the rules.
Permanent or seasonal Florida residents must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a qualified physician in order to be entered in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. Seasonal residents include those who have lived in Florida for at least 31 consecutive days in a year, maintain a temporary residence, return to Florida at least once a year, and are registered to vote or pay income taxes in Florida. Qualifying medical conditions include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Also included are terminal conditions diagnosed by a physician other than the physician issuing the certification, and chronic pain caused by a qualifying medical condition.
After the physician enters the patient information and