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Top 5 FAQs About Florida's Medical Marijuana Laws

Since Amendment 2 passed in 2016, Floridians all over the state are trying to keep up with the changes in marijuana laws. As the Sunshine State follows in the footsteps of pioneer states who first legalized medical cannabis -- such as California, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington -- many are curious about how they can go about legally obtaining weed in Florida.

It's important to know that recreational marijuana remains illegal under Florida and federal law. Though Amendment 2 provides for medical cannabis to be used to treat a variety of serious illnesses, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance by the federal government. Naturally, as the laws are in flux, many Floridians lack a clear understanding of what is and isn't legal. We hope these top five frequently asked questions about medical marijuana in Florida will provide some clarity.

What Did Amendment 2 Accomplish in Florida?

Amendment 2 increased the reach of medical marijuana for patients battling debilitating conditions. In 2014, legislators allowed a measure to offer a low-THC strain of cannabis to help those who live with epilepsy and other conditions that cause seizures. In 2016, the program expanded to allow terminally-ill patients access to full-strength medical cannabis. Legal marijuana dispensaries began to sprout in 2016.

During the election, Florida voters pushed Amendment 2 to success with 71% of voters in favor of the legislation. This amendment makes full-strength marijuana legal for medical patients and broadens the definition of a debilitating medical condition. Now, a debilitating medical condition may include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, PTSD, Parkinson's, ALS, multiple sclerosis, or other health problem for which a patient's doctor must determine that the benefits of using medical cannabis outweigh the drawbacks.

Who Qualifies for Medical Marijuana in Orlando?

Patients of severe, debilitating medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, ALS, Parkinson's, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, or another debilitating illness may qualify for medical cannabis in Orlando.

The patient must meet several requirements to qualify. Florida Law requires patients to be diagnosed with a qualifying condition. Patients must be Florida residents and, if the patient is under 18, he must have a second physician agree to the use of cannabis, whether low-THC or full-strength.

If My Doctor Provided a Medical Cannabis Prescription, Can I Grow My Own in Florida?

No. Even if you have obtained a valid prescription for medical marijuana, cultivating marijuana -- even for medicinal reasons -- is still a criminal offense. If police catch you growing marijuana in Orlando, you will face legal consequences.

Is Marijuana Legal in Orlando?

No! Medical marijuana is only available to medical patients; recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state. Recently, the city of Orlando decriminalized negligible amounts of pot. Anyone caught with 20 or fewer grams of marijuana may receive a fine just as if they were caught speeding, rather than arrested.

A first-time offender can receive a citation of $100, while a second-time offender can receive a fine of $200. After that, fines can reach $500 and require a court appearance. Offenders may be able to waive penalties by attending a diversion program. It is up to the officer to use discretion when issuing a citation, meaning that you can still be arrested for marijuana possession in Orlando.

Can I Purchase Marijuana from Street Vendors for My Condition?

No. Buying pot off the street is still illegal. You must obtain your medication from a legal dispensary. Here is a list of the authorized dispensaries in the state.

Law enforcement officers throughout Central Florida continue to pursue drug offenses. If you are facing charges for a marijuana offense in Orlando, seek the aid of a robust legal team to protect your rights. The Umansky Law Firm employs experienced marijuana defense attorneys who work together to help you secure your future. Contact us at 407-228-3838 or reach out to us online for a free case review. 

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