Disclaimer: The information below is fully based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state.
Even in the Sunshine State, sometimes people need a little bit of herbal help. In this state, as in so many others, people are looking at the potential benefits offered by cannabidiol, also known as CBD. This cannabinoid, which is present in both hemp and marijuana, is not intoxicating like THC. Rather, many believe that this substance has shown anecdotal and limited clinical benefit for inflammation, pain from conditions like back strain and arthritis, as well as relief from symptoms that include depression, anxiety and insomnia.
But, before buying CBD products, many people want to ensure that the product that they are buying is legal. This is what we were able to learn about the question “is CBD legal in Florida?”
Is CBD oil legal in Florida?
Yes, CBD oil is legal in Florida. CBD products first became legal for people with approved medical conditions in 2014. Later laws allowed first a greater range of medical conditions to qualify, then for CBD to be available freely throughout the state.
If you have a medical marijuana card, you are permitted to buy marijuana-based CBD at a registered dispensary. Hemp-based CBD can be purchased by anyone in the state, regardless of age or classification as a medical marijuana patient.
What are the current CBD laws in Florida?
Florida’s CBD laws remained murky and confusing for years. Hemp-based CBD was widely available, however it was also technically illegal in the state. This was because hemp had been grouped with intoxicating marijuana on a federal level, making both Schedule 1 narcotics under federal law.
The first loosening of CBD regulation in Florida came with Senate Bill 1030, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. Signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2014, this law allowed the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils that were produced from the strain popularly known as Charlotte’s Web. Under the law, people who suffered from qualified conditions that included cancer, epilepsy and Lou Gehrig’s disease could use these products to counter symptoms like pain and seizures.
Legalization of medical marijuana, including CBD products for a wider range of sufferers, was on the ballot in Florida in 2014. However, constitutional amendments on Florida ballots require a 60% supermajority to pass. This initiative failed with 57% of the vote.
Voters had better success in 2016, when 71.3% of the electorate voted to legalize medical marijuana in the state. This allowed for not just low THC, high CBD marijuana like the previous initiative, but also high THC preparations. It also made it easier for those with medical conditions outside the 2014 limitations to acquire CBD for treatment. However, outside of those with a medical marijuana card, people could still not legally obtain even hemp-based CBD in the state.
In general, this did not stop those who wished to explore CBD from acquiring it. CBD oils, gummies, extracts, capsules and creams were widely available at head shops, convenience stores, and even some health food stores.
Despite remaining technically illegal, possession of CBD, particularly hemp-based CBD, was rarely prosecuted. However, one notable case caused authorities to reflect on laws regarding non-intoxicating marijuana products. On April 15, 2019, 69-year-old grandmother Hester Burkhalter was detained after security at Disney World found a bottle of CBD oil in her purse. Burkhalter was prescribed the oil by her doctor in North Carolina to treat arthritis. She was detained for over 15 hours. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office maintained that the arrest was legal. However, prosecutors dropped drug charges against the woman because they did not consider the case suitable for prosecution.
Multiple authorities within Florida confirmed that, even though hemp had been federally removed from the Schedule 1 classification in 2018, it was still illegal within the state. While arrests were rare, it was still technically possible at the time to be arrested for CBD products even if they contained no appreciable quantities of THC.
Additionally, at the time, a number of news organizations purchased and tested CBD products available in retail locations in Florida. According to lab results, many of these products contained less CBD than the label claimed. Some contained no CBD at all. Authorities urged buyers in Florida to use caution when buying CBD products from unknown sources.
Things were clarified greatly in 2019 when Governor Ron Desantis signed SB-182 into law. This bill, passed in 2019, made CBD oil and other CBD products legal throughout the state. As of 2020, CBD sales are regulated by the state. There are a number of requirements that help protect buyers and ensure that they are getting authentic CBD products.
Florida’s hemp laws work in conjunction with the federal deschedulization of hemp. The 2018 federal farm bill removed hemp from Schedule 1. While the product was made federally legal, the regulation of it was left to the states. Each state has interpreted the law in its own unique way, and Florida is no exception.
The same 2019 law that made CBD products legal to sell in retail locations throughout the state also allowed for commercial hemp growing and processing. Individuals and businesses that wish to grow or process hemp can do so as long as they get a permit and comply with state guidelines.
Those who wish to apply for a permit will have to pass a background check, including fingerprinting. Licenses must be renewed every 12 months. Growers will have to show on a map where they are cultivating hemp. If possible, they will also have to report the seed varieties they are using. Plants must be contained to avoid escape into the wild. Samples of hemp grown in Florida must be submitted for testing to ensure that it complies with THC limits.
All CBD products sold in Florida must contain less than .8% THC. This is higher than the federal limit of .3% THC; however, the CBD products must be extracted from hemp plants that comply with the .3% THC federal limit. Anyone who is caught with non-regulated CBD products can face up to a $5,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
Can I purchase CBD in Florida?
Yes, you can purchase CBD in Florida. CBD is available at specialized shops, pharmacies, health food stores, convenience stores and other types of retail locations. Additionally, cannabis-derived CBD products can be purchased in dispensaries throughout the state by people who have medical marijuana cards.
CBD products can also be legally purchased online in Florida. Many people prefer ordering online because of an availability of a wider range of products, better pricing, or the chance to do business with companies whose products they trust. Since hemp-based CBD is now legal at the federal level, there is no legal risk involved in ordering tested CBD products online from your favorite purveyors.