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The department must submit such documentation to the Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research established pursuant to s. 1004.4351.

For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “seasonal resident” means any person who temporarily resides in this state for a period of at least 31 consecutive days in each calendar year, maintains a temporary residence in this state, returns to the state or jurisdiction of his or her residence at least one time during each calendar year, and is registered to vote or pays income tax in another state or jurisdiction.

Within 30 days after the receipt of a complete application, the department shall approve or deny the application.

A. Section 1, ch. 2017-232, provides that “[i]t is the intent of the Legislature to implement s. 29, Article X of the State Constitution by creating a unified regulatory structure. If s. 29, Article X of the State Constitution is amended or a constitutional amendment related to cannabis or marijuana is adopted, this act shall expire 6 months after the effective date of such amendment.” If such amendment or adoption takes place, s. 381.986, as amended by s. 1, ch. 2017-232, will read:

381.986 Compassionate use of low-THC and medical cannabis. —

(1) DEFINITIONS. — As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Cannabis delivery device” means an object used, intended for use, or designed for use in preparing, storing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis into the human body.

(b) “Dispensing organization” means an organization approved by the department to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis pursuant to this section.

(c) “Independent testing laboratory” means a laboratory, including the managers, employees, or contractors of the laboratory, which has no direct or indirect interest in a dispensing organization.

(d) “Legal representative” means the qualified patient’s parent, legal guardian acting pursuant to a court’s authorization as required under s. 744.3215(4), health care surrogate acting pursuant to the qualified patient’s written consent or a court’s authorization as required under s. 765.113, or an individual who is authorized under a power of attorney to make health care decisions on behalf of the qualified patient.

(e) “Low-THC cannabis” means a plant of the genus Cannabis , the dried flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization.

(f) “Medical cannabis” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis , whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization for medical use by an eligible patient as defined in s. 499.0295.

(g) “Medical use” means administration of the ordered amount of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis. The term does not include the:

1. Possession, use, or administration of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis by smoking.

2. Transfer of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis to a person other than the qualified patient for whom it was ordered or the qualified patient’s legal representative on behalf of the qualified patient.

3. Use or administration of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis:

a. On any form of public transportation.

b. In any public place.

c. In a qualified patient’s place of employment, if restricted by his or her employer.

d. In a state correctional institution as defined in s. 944.02 or a correctional institution as defined in s. 944.241.

e. On the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school.

f. On a school bus or in a vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat.

(h) “Qualified patient” means a resident of this state who has been added to the compassionate use registry by a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 to receive low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis from a dispensing organization.

(i) “Smoking” means burning or igniting a substance and inhaling the smoke. Smoking does not include the use of a vaporizer.

(2) PHYSICIAN ORDERING. — A physician is authorized to order low-THC cannabis to treat a qualified patient suffering from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms; order low-THC cannabis to alleviate symptoms of such disease, disorder, or condition, if no other satisfactory alternative treatment options exist for the qualified patient; order medical cannabis to treat an eligible patient as defined in s. 499.0295; or order a cannabis delivery device for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, only if the physician:

(a) Holds an active, unrestricted license as a physician under chapter 458 or an osteopathic physician under chapter 459;

(b) Has treated the patient for at least 3 months immediately preceding the patient’s registration in the compassionate use registry;

(c) Has successfully completed the course and examination required under paragraph (4)(a);

(d) Has determined that the risks of treating the patient with low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis are reasonable in light of the potential benefit to the patient. If a patient is younger than 18 years of age, a second physician must concur with this determination, and such determination must be documented in the patient’s medical record;

(e) Registers as the orderer of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for the named patient on the compassionate use registry maintained by the department and updates the registry to reflect the contents of the order, including the amount of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis that will provide the patient with not more than a 45-day supply and a cannabis delivery device needed by the patient for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis. The physician must also update the registry within 7 days after any change is made to the original order to reflect the change. The physician shall deactivate the registration of the patient and the patient’s legal representative when treatment is discontinued;

(f) Maintains a patient treatment plan that includes the dose, route of administration, planned duration, and monitoring of the patient’s symptoms and other indicators of tolerance or reaction to the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis;

(g) Submits the patient treatment plan quarterly to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy for research on the safety and efficacy of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis on patients;

(h) Obtains the voluntary written informed consent of the patient or the patient’s legal representative to treatment with low-THC cannabis after sufficiently explaining the current state of knowledge in the medical community of the effectiveness of treatment of the patient’s condition with low-THC cannabis, the medically acceptable alternatives, and the potential risks and side effects;

(i) Obtains written informed consent as defined in and required under s. 499.0295, if the physician is ordering medical cannabis for an eligible patient pursuant to that section; and

(j) Is not a medical director employed by a dispensing organization.

(a) A physician commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if the physician orders low-THC cannabis for a patient without a reasonable belief that the patient is suffering from:

1. Cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms that can be treated with low-THC cannabis; or

2. Symptoms of cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms that can be alleviated with low-THC cannabis.

(b) A physician commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if the physician orders medical cannabis for a patient without a reasonable belief that the patient has a terminal condition as defined in s. 499.0295.

(c) A person who fraudulently represents that he or she has cancer, a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, or a terminal condition to a physician for the purpose of being ordered low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device by such physician commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(d) An eligible patient as defined in s. 499.0295 who uses medical cannabis, and such patient’s legal representative who administers medical cannabis, in plain view of or in a place open to the general public, on the grounds of a school, or in a school bus, vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(e) A physician who orders low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device and receives compensation from a dispensing organization related to the ordering of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device is subject to disciplinary action under the applicable practice act and s. 456.072(1)(n).

(a) Before ordering low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device for medical use by a patient in this state, the appropriate board shall require the ordering physician to successfully complete an 8-hour course and subsequent examination offered by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association that encompasses the clinical indications for the appropriate use of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis, the appropriate cannabis delivery devices, the contraindications for such use, and the relevant state and federal laws governing the ordering, dispensing, and possessing of these substances and devices. The course and examination shall be administered at least annually. Successful completion of the course may be used by a physician to satisfy 8 hours of the continuing medical education requirements required by his or her respective board for licensure renewal. This course may be offered in a distance learning format.

(b) The appropriate board shall require the medical director of each dispensing organization to hold an active, unrestricted license as a physician under chapter 458 or as an osteopathic physician under chapter 459 and successfully complete a 2-hour course and subsequent examination offered by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association that encompasses appropriate safety procedures and knowledge of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and cannabis delivery devices.

(c) Successful completion of the course and examination specified in paragraph (a) is required for every physician who orders low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device each time such physician renews his or her license. In addition, successful completion of the course and examination specified in paragraph (b) is required for the medical director of each dispensing organization each time such physician renews his or her license.

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(d) A physician who fails to comply with this subsection and who orders low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device may be subject to disciplinary action under the applicable practice act and under s. 456.072(1)(k).

(5) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT. — The department shall:

(a) Create and maintain a secure, electronic, and online compassionate use registry for the registration of physicians, patients, and the legal representatives of patients as provided under this section. The registry must be accessible to law enforcement agencies and to a dispensing organization to verify the authorization of a patient or a patient’s legal representative to possess low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device and record the low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or cannabis delivery device dispensed. The registry must prevent an active registration of a patient by multiple physicians.

(b) Authorize the establishment of five dispensing organizations to ensure reasonable statewide accessibility and availability as necessary for patients registered in the compassionate use registry and who are ordered low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device under this section, one in each of the following regions: northwest Florida, northeast Florida, central Florida, southeast Florida, and southwest Florida. The department shall develop an application form and impose an initial application and biennial renewal fee that is sufficient to cover the costs of administering this section. An applicant for approval as a dispensing organization must be able to demonstrate:

1. The technical and technological ability to cultivate and produce low-THC cannabis. The applicant must possess a valid certificate of registration issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to s. 581.131 that is issued for the cultivation of more than 400,000 plants, be operated by a nurseryman as defined in s. 581.011, and have been operated as a registered nursery in this state for at least 30 continuous years.

2. The ability to secure the premises, resources, and personnel necessary to operate as a dispensing organization.

3. The ability to maintain accountability of all raw materials, finished products, and any byproducts to prevent diversion or unlawful access to or possession of these substances.

4. An infrastructure reasonably located to dispense low-THC cannabis to registered patients statewide or regionally as determined by the department.

5. The financial ability to maintain operations for the duration of the 2-year approval cycle, including the provision of certified financials to the department. Upon approval, the applicant must post a $5 million performance bond. However, upon a dispensing organization’s serving at least 1,000 qualified patients, the dispensing organization is only required to maintain a $2 million performance bond.

6. That all owners and managers have been fingerprinted and have successfully passed a level 2 background screening pursuant to s. 435.04.

7. The employment of a medical director to supervise the activities of the dispensing organization.

(c) Upon the registration of 250,000 active qualified patients in the compassionate use registry, approve three dispensing organizations, including, but not limited to, an applicant that is a recognized class member of Pigford v. Glickman , 185 F.R.D. 82 (D.D.C. 1999), or In Re Black Farmers Litig. , 856 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2011), and a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, which must meet the requirements of subparagraphs (b)2.-7. and demonstrate the technical and technological ability to cultivate and produce low-THC cannabis.

(d) Allow a dispensing organization to make a wholesale purchase of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis from, or a distribution of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis to, another dispensing organization.

(e) Monitor physician registration and ordering of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device for ordering practices that could facilitate unlawful diversion or misuse of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device and take disciplinary action as indicated.

(6) DISPENSING ORGANIZATION. — An approved dispensing organization must, at all times, maintain compliance with the criteria demonstrated for selection and approval as a dispensing organization under subsection (5) and the criteria required in this subsection.

(a) When growing low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, a dispensing organization:

1. May use pesticides determined by the department, after consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to be safely applied to plants intended for human consumption, but may not use pesticides designated as restricted-use pesticides pursuant to s. 487.042.

2. Must grow low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis within an enclosed structure and in a room separate from any other plant.

3. Must inspect seeds and growing plants for plant pests that endanger or threaten the horticultural and agricultural interests of the state, notify the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services within 10 calendar days after a determination that a plant is infested or infected by such plant pest, and implement and maintain phytosanitary policies and procedures.

4. Must perform fumigation or treatment of plants, or the removal and destruction of infested or infected plants, in accordance with chapter 581 and any rules adopted thereunder.

(b) When processing low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, a dispensing organization must:

1. Process the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis within an enclosed structure and in a room separate from other plants or products.

2. Test the processed low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis before they are dispensed. Results must be verified and signed by two dispensing organization employees. Before dispensing low-THC cannabis, the dispensing organization must determine that the test results indicate that the low-THC cannabis meets the definition of low-THC cannabis and, for medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis, that all medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis is safe for human consumption and free from contaminants that are unsafe for human consumption. The dispensing organization must retain records of all testing and samples of each homogenous batch of cannabis and low-THC cannabis for at least 9 months. The dispensing organization must contract with an independent testing laboratory to perform audits on the dispensing organization’s standard operating procedures, testing records, and samples and provide the results to the department to confirm that the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis meets the requirements of this section and that the medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis is safe for human consumption.

3. Package the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis in compliance with the United States Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. ss. 1471 et seq.

4. Package the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis in a receptacle that has a firmly affixed and legible label stating the following information:

a. A statement that the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis meets the requirements of subparagraph 2.;

b. The name of the dispensing organization from which the medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis originates; and

c. The batch number and harvest number from which the medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis originates.

5. Reserve two processed samples from each batch and retain such samples for at least 9 months for the purpose of testing pursuant to the audit required under subparagraph 2.

(c) When dispensing low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device, a dispensing organization:

1. May not dispense more than a 45-day supply of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis to a patient or the patient’s legal representative.

2. Must have the dispensing organization’s employee who dispenses the low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device enter into the compassionate use registry his or her name or unique employee identifier.

3. Must verify in the compassionate use registry that a physician has ordered the low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a specific type of a cannabis delivery device for the patient.

4. May not dispense or sell any other type of cannabis, alcohol, or illicit drug-related product, including pipes, bongs, or wrapping papers, other than a physician-ordered cannabis delivery device required for the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, while dispensing low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.

5. Must verify that the patient has an active registration in the compassionate use registry, the patient or patient’s legal representative holds a valid and active registration card, the order presented matches the order contents as recorded in the registry, and the order has not already been filled.

6. Must, upon dispensing the low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or cannabis delivery device, record in the registry the date, time, quantity, and form of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis dispensed and the type of cannabis delivery device dispensed.

(d) To ensure the safety and security of its premises and any off-site storage facilities, and to maintain adequate controls against the diversion, theft, and loss of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or cannabis delivery devices, a dispensing organization shall:

1.a. Maintain a fully operational security alarm system that secures all entry points and perimeter windows and is equipped with motion detectors; pressure switches; and duress, panic, and hold-up alarms; or

b. Maintain a video surveillance system that records continuously 24 hours each day and meets at least one of the following criteria:

(I) Cameras are fixed in a place that allows for the clear identification of persons and activities in controlled areas of the premises. Controlled areas include grow rooms, processing rooms, storage rooms, disposal rooms or areas, and point-of-sale rooms;

(II) Cameras are fixed in entrances and exits to the premises, which shall record from both indoor and outdoor, or ingress and egress, vantage points;

(III) Recorded images must clearly and accurately display the time and date; or

(IV) Retain video surveillance recordings for a minimum of 45 days or longer upon the request of a law enforcement agency.

2. Ensure that the organization’s outdoor premises have sufficient lighting from dusk until dawn.

3. Establish and maintain a tracking system approved by the department that traces the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis from seed to sale. The tracking system shall include notification of key events as determined by the department, including when cannabis seeds are planted, when cannabis plants are harvested and destroyed, and when low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis is transported, sold, stolen, diverted, or lost.

4. Not dispense from its premises low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., but may perform all other operations and deliver low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis to qualified patients 24 hours each day.

5. Store low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis in a secured, locked room or a vault.

6. Require at least two of its employees, or two employees of a security agency with whom it contracts, to be on the premises at all times.

7. Require each employee to wear a photo identification badge at all times while on the premises.

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8. Require each visitor to wear a visitor’s pass at all times while on the premises.

9. Implement an alcohol and drug-free workplace policy.

10. Report to local law enforcement within 24 hours after it is notified or becomes aware of the theft, diversion, or loss of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.

(e) To ensure the safe transport of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis to dispensing organization facilities, independent testing laboratories, or patients, the dispensing organization must:

1. Maintain a transportation manifest, which must be retained for at least 1 year.

2. Ensure only vehicles in good working order are used to transport low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.

3. Lock low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis in a separate compartment or container within the vehicle.

4. Require at least two persons to be in a vehicle transporting low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, and require at least one person to remain in the vehicle while the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis is being delivered.

5. Provide specific safety and security training to employees transporting or delivering low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.

(7) DEPARTMENT AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES. —

(a) The department may conduct announced or unannounced inspections of dispensing organizations to determine compliance with this section or rules adopted pursuant to this section.

(b) The department shall inspect a dispensing organization upon complaint or notice provided to the department that the dispensing organization has dispensed low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis containing any mold, bacteria, or other contaminant that may cause or has caused an adverse effect to human health or the environment.

(c) The department shall conduct at least a biennial inspection of each dispensing organization to evaluate the dispensing organization’s records, personnel, equipment, processes, security measures, sanitation practices, and quality assurance practices.

(d) The department may enter into interagency agreements with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the Agency for Health Care Administration, and such agencies are authorized to enter into an interagency agreement with the department, to conduct inspections or perform other responsibilities assigned to the department under this section.

(e) The department must make a list of all approved dispensing organizations and qualified ordering physicians and medical directors publicly available on its website.

(f) The department may establish a system for issuing and renewing registration cards for patients and their legal representatives, establish the circumstances under which the cards may be revoked by or must be returned to the department, and establish fees to implement such system. The department must require, at a minimum, the registration cards to:

1. Provide the name, address, and date of birth of the patient or legal representative.

2. Have a full-face, passport-type, color photograph of the patient or legal representative taken within the 90 days immediately preceding registration.

3. Identify whether the cardholder is a patient or legal representative.

4. List a unique numeric identifier for the patient or legal representative that is matched to the identifier used for such person in the department’s compassionate use registry.

5. Provide the expiration date, which shall be 1 year after the date of the physician’s initial order of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis.

6. For the legal representative, provide the name and unique numeric identifier of the patient that the legal representative is assisting.

7. Be resistant to counterfeiting or tampering.

(g) The department may impose reasonable fines not to exceed $10,000 on a dispensing organization for any of the following violations:

1. Violating this section, s. 499.0295, or department rule.

2. Failing to maintain qualifications for approval.

3. Endangering the health, safety, or security of a qualified patient.

4. Improperly disclosing personal and confidential information of the qualified patient.

5. Attempting to procure dispensing organization approval by bribery, fraudulent misrepresentation, or extortion.

6. Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the business of a dispensing organization.

7. Making or filing a report or record that the dispensing organization knows to be false.

8. Willfully failing to maintain a record required by this section or department rule.

9. Willfully impeding or obstructing an employee or agent of the department in the furtherance of his or her official duties.

10. Engaging in fraud or deceit, negligence, incompetence, or misconduct in the business practices of a dispensing organization.

11. Making misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations in or related to the business practices of a dispensing organization.

12. Having a license or the authority to engage in any regulated profession, occupation, or business that is related to the business practices of a dispensing organization suspended, revoked, or otherwise acted against by the licensing authority of any jurisdiction, including its agencies or subdivisions, for a violation that would constitute a violation under Florida law.

13. Violating a lawful order of the department or an agency of the state, or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department or an agency of the state.

(h) The department may suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a dispensing organization’s approval if a dispensing organization commits any of the violations in paragraph (g).

(i) The department shall renew the approval of a dispensing organization biennially if the dispensing organization meets the requirements of this section and pays the biennial renewal fee.

(j) The department may adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

(a) All matters regarding the regulation of the cultivation and processing of medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis by dispensing organizations are preempted to the state.

(b) A municipality may determine by ordinance the criteria for the number and location of, and other permitting requirements that do not conflict with state law or department rule for, dispensing facilities of dispensing organizations located within its municipal boundaries. A county may determine by ordinance the criteria for the number, location, and other permitting requirements that do not conflict with state law or department rule for all dispensing facilities of dispensing organizations located within the unincorporated areas of that county.

(9) EXCEPTIONS TO OTHER LAWS. —

(a) Notwithstanding s. 893.13, s. 893.135, s. 893.147, or any other provision of law, but subject to the requirements of this section, a qualified patient and the qualified patient’s legal representative may purchase and possess for the patient’s medical use up to the amount of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis ordered for the patient, but not more than a 45-day supply, and a cannabis delivery device ordered for the patient.

(b) Notwithstanding s. 893.13, s. 893.135, s. 893.147, or any other provision of law, but subject to the requirements of this section, an approved dispensing organization and its owners, managers, and employees may manufacture, possess, sell, deliver, distribute, dispense, and lawfully dispose of reasonable quantities, as established by department rule, of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device. For purposes of this subsection, the terms “manufacture,” “possession,” “deliver,” “distribute,” and “dispense” have the same meanings as provided in s. 893.02.

(c) Notwithstanding s. 893.13, s. 893.135, s. 893.147, or any other provision of law, but subject to the requirements of this section, an approved independent testing laboratory may possess, test, transport, and lawfully dispose of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis as provided by department rule.

(d) An approved dispensing organization and its owners, managers, and employees are not subject to licensure or regulation under chapter 465 or chapter 499 for manufacturing, possessing, selling, delivering, distributing, dispensing, or lawfully disposing of reasonable quantities, as established by department rule, of low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device.

(e) An approved dispensing organization that continues to meet the requirements for approval is presumed to be registered with the department and to meet the regulations adopted by the department or its successor agency for the purpose of dispensing medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis under Florida law. Additionally, the authority provided to a dispensing organization in s. 499.0295 does not impair the approval of a dispensing organization.

(f) This subsection does not exempt a person from prosecution for a criminal offense related to impairment or intoxication resulting from the medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis or relieve a person from any requirement under law to submit to a breath, blood, urine, or other test to detect the presence of a controlled substance.

B. Section 14(1), ch. 2017-232, as amended by s. 15, ch. 2021-37, “in order to implement Specific Appropriations 460 through 462, 466, 467, 469A, and 474 of the 2021-2022 General Appropriations Act,” provides that:

“(a) The Department of Health and the applicable boards shall adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, and this section necessary to implement ss. 381.986 and 381.988, Florida Statutes. If an emergency rule adopted under this section is held to be unconstitutional or an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority, and becomes void, the department or the applicable boards may adopt an emergency rule pursuant to this section to replace the rule that has become void. If the emergency rule adopted to replace the void emergency rule is also held to be unconstitutional or an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority and becomes void, the department and the applicable boards must follow the nonemergency rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act to replace the rule that has become void.

“(b) For emergency rules adopted under this section, the department and the applicable boards need not make the findings required by s. 120.54(4)(a), Florida Statutes. Emergency rules adopted under this section are exempt from ss. 120.54(3)(b) and 120.541, Florida Statutes. The department and the applicable boards shall meet the procedural requirements in s. 120.54(4)(a), Florida Statutes, if the department or the applicable boards have, before July 1, 2019, held any public workshops or hearings on the subject matter of the emergency rules adopted under this subsection. Challenges to emergency rules adopted under this subsection are subject to the time schedules provided in s. 120.56(5), Florida Statutes.

“(c) Emergency rules adopted under this section are exempt from s. 120.54(4)(c), Florida Statutes, and shall remain in effect until replaced by rules adopted under the nonemergency rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act. Rules adopted under the nonemergency rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act to replace emergency rules adopted under this section are exempt from ss. 120.54(3)(b) and 120.541, Florida Statutes. By July 1, 2022, the department and the applicable boards shall initiate nonemergency rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act to replace all emergency rules adopted under this section by publishing a notice of rule development in the Florida Administrative Register. Except as provided in paragraph (a), after July 1, 2022, the department and applicable boards may not adopt rules pursuant to the emergency rulemaking procedures provided in this section.”

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C. Section 16, ch. 2021-37, provides that “[t]he amendments to s. 14(1) of chapter 2017-232, Laws of Florida, made by this act expire July 1, 2022, and the text of that subsection shall revert to that in existence on June 30, 2019, except that any amendments to such text enacted other than by this act shall be preserved and continue to operate to the extent that such amendments are not dependent upon the portions of text which expire pursuant to this section.” Effective July 1, 2022, s. 14(1), ch. 2017-232, as amended by s. 16, ch. 2021-37, will read:

“(a) The Department of Health and the applicable boards shall adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, and this section necessary to implement ss. 381.986 and 381.988, Florida Statutes. If an emergency rule adopted under this section is held to be unconstitutional or an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority, and becomes void, the department or the applicable boards may adopt an emergency rule pursuant to this section to replace the rule that has become void. If the emergency rule adopted to replace the void emergency rule is also held to be unconstitutional or an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority and becomes void, the department and the applicable boards must follow the nonemergency rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act to replace the rule that has become void.

“(b) For emergency rules adopted under this section, the department and the applicable boards need not make the findings required by s. 120.54(4)(a), Florida Statutes. Emergency rules adopted under this section are exempt from ss. 120.54(3)(b) and 120.541, Florida Statutes. The department and the applicable boards shall meet the procedural requirements in s. 120.54(a), Florida Statutes, if the department or the applicable boards have, before [June 23, 2017], held any public workshops or hearings on the subject matter of the emergency rules adopted under this subsection. Challenges to emergency rules adopted under this subsection are subject to the time schedules provided in s. 120.56(5), Florida Statutes.

“(c) Emergency rules adopted under this section are exempt from s. 120.54(4)(c), Florida Statutes, and shall remain in effect until replaced by rules adopted under the nonemergency rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act. By January 1, 2018, the department and the applicable boards shall initiate nonemergency rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act to replace all emergency rules adopted under this section by publishing a notice of rule development in the Florida Administrative Register. Except as provided in paragraph (a), after January 1, 2018, the department and applicable boards may not adopt rules pursuant to the emergency rulemaking procedures provided in this section.”

Cultivation of Cannabis in Florida

Under Florida Statute 893.13(1)(A)(2), the crime of Cultivation of Cannabis is committed when a person grows or cultivates cannabis plants for personal use.

Personal Use Threshold

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.1351(4), possession of less than 25 cannabis plants is assumed to be for personal use absent additional evidence to suggest it was intended for sale or distribution.

However, possession of 25 or more cannabis plants constitutes prima facie evidence that the cannabis is intended for sale or distribution of cannabis.

Penalties for Cultivation of Cannabis

In Florida, the crime of Cultivation of Cannabis is a Third Degree Felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Cultivation of Cannabis is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code and a judge may sentence a person convicted of Cultivation of Cannabis to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum.

Driver License Suspension

Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.055, any person convicted of Cultivation of Cannabis will have their driver’s license or driving privilege suspended for six months by the Florida DHSMV .

Defenses to Cultivation of Cannabis

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, common defenses to the crime of Cultivation of Cannabis are:

Constructive Possession

If the cannabis was found in a place where more than one person had access, the prosecutor would have to comply with the law of constructive possession, which requires the prosecutor to prove the following two elements to convict a person of Cultivation of Cannabis: [1]

  1. Knowledge of the Cannabis’ presence; and
  2. Dominion and control over the cannabis, which means more than the mere ability to reach out and touch the cannabis. [2]

Below are scenarios where it can be argued the prosecutor could not meet their burden of proving constructive Cultivation of Cannabis.

Illegal Search and Seizure

More often than not, law enforcement exceed the scope of their authority and require people to submit to a vehicle, home, or body search; or they may coerce a person into agreeing to a search. If we can prove that either instance occurred, the courts will suppress the resulting evidence as having been illegally obtained.

Other suppression possibilities that may present themselves are: if law enforcement obtained a search warrant in bad faith or if you were arrested without probable cause.

Lack of Knowledge

It is an affirmative defense to the crime of Cultivation of Cannabis if you can prove that you did not know the plants you were growing were cannabis plants. Because knowledge is an affirmative defense, you would be required to testify a lack of knowledge of the substance’s illegal nature. [3]

Medical Necessity

The defense of medical necessity can be used when a person suffers from a physical illness or ailment for which there was no lawful medication available to properly treat the illness or ailment and cannabis was the only substance that could relieve the pain or suffering of the person. [4]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been charged with the crime of Cultivation of Cannabis in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

Pesticide Applicator Certification and Licensing

To apply for a pesticide applicator license in Florida, you must first pass the required certification exams. See a list of license categories, exams and study materials [ 134.5 kB ] .

Exam Sites

Some pesticide applicator certification exams are administered by the Cooperative Extension Service, and some are administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

Exams Administered by Extension

Exams Administered by FDACS

The following exams are administered by FDACS on an as-needed basis:

  • Chlorine Gas Infusion Exam
  • Regulatory Inspection and Sampling Exam
  • Sewer Root Control Exam
  • Regulatory Pest Control Exam (Government Employees Only/Division of PlantIndustry)

To make arrangements for these exams, please call (850) 617-7870.

How to Apply for a License

After you have passed your exams, FDACS will send you the required documentation to apply for your license.

License Fees

For new licenses or renewals:

Private Applicator License

Public Applicator License

Commercial Applicator License

Expiration Dates

Restricted use pesticide licenses are valid for four years and expire at the end of the month four years from issue date.

License Renewal

Approximately 60 days before a license expires, a renewal notice is sent to the applicator. To update your contact information, please visit our licensing website or use our Change of Address/Information [ ] form.

To renew a pesticide applicator license, applicators must first become recertified by:

  • Retaking the certification exams or
  • Accumulating Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

If desired, you may renew some categories by reexamination and other categories with CEUs. The licensee should select the method of renewal and return the renewal form along with the required license fee and copies of the CEU attendance forms if renewing by CEUs. If renewing by reexamination, the applicator should take the exams before returning the renewal notice.

Applicator licenses may be renewed for up to one year after the expiration date. For renewal by reexamination, the exams must be passed within 12 months of the license expiration date (from 12 months before license expiration until 12 months after license expiration), giving a two-year period to pass the exams. All renewal paperwork and the license renewal fee must be received by FDACS and the license must be reissued no later than one year after the license expiration date.

Expired Licenses

If a license is not renewed before it expires, no restricted use pesticides may be purchased or applied until the license is renewed.

If a license is renewed after the expiration date, the applicator must submit a signed and notarized affidavit stating that they have not purchased or applied any restricted use pesticides since the license has expired.

If a license is renewed more than 60 days after it expired, a $50 late fee is required in addition to the affidavit. Affidavit forms are mailed out with the renewal notices.

Licenses that have been expired for more than one year cannot be renewed. However, a new license can be obtained at any time by taking the certification exams again.

Out-of-State Requirements

Applicators who are not Florida residents must file a Designation of Registered Agent [ 78.8 kB ] form with the Florida Department of State before a Florida pesticide applicator license will be issued.

Reciprocal Certification

Reciprocal agreements waive the requirement for applicators certified in reciprocal states, agencies and tribes to take the Florida certification exams. However, the license requirement is not waived. All individuals who apply restricted use pesticides in Florida or who apply any pesticide in Florida by aerial delivery must have a Florida license issued by FDACS.

Florida licenses can be issued for a term of no more than four years, so the expiration date on the Florida license may not be the same as the expiration date on the reciprocal license.

For more information on reciprocal certification, contact the Pesticide Certification Office at (850) 617-7870.