Over 300,000 Florida residents have medical marijuana cards. Yet certain activities related to marijuana remain illegal. Selling it outside the medical market can come with stiff legal consequences. And recreational use may still result in a fine or jail time.

But you may be curious whether you can grow marijuana in Florida without breaking the law. You may want to start a business that contributes to the state’s medical supply. Or you could be a card holder wanting easier access to marijuana in case of an emergency. A recent case illustrates the difficulty in doing so.

The growing case

In 2018, a Leon County judge ruled that a medical marijuana patient could grow his own plants, so long as he doesn’t share their contents with anyone. The Florida Department of Health filed a prompt appeal. They did so because the ruling went against the state’s statutes. By Florida law, residents cannot grow marijuana for personal or medical use. Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal overturned the Leon County Circuit’s ruling in April 2019. And so far, the state has refused to consider the plaintiff’s appeals. Nor will the Florida Supreme Court hear the case as of right now.

What this means for you

The initial ruling could have shifted Florida’s laws on marijuana growth. But the Court of Appeal’s reversal upheld the law which criminalizes growing marijuana for medical or personal purposes. Thus, growing your own supply is illegal.

You’ll also face challenges if you want to start a commercial growing operation in Florida. While commercial licenses are available, the state has granted few. Florida licensed new marijuana businesses in 2015 and 2019. But the state has not announced any forthcoming rounds since then.

Growing marijuana legally in Florida is near impossible. But as state laws evolve, there will likely be more cases that challenge the current statutes. If you’re caught growing marijuana now, consulting a criminal defense attorney can help you work through your charges.