Broward County, Florida is the second-largest county by population in the state and Broward County Marijuana laws are considered strict.

With Fort Lauderdale as the county seat, Broward County is home to approximately 1.8 million people. The Broward County Government is organized with a nine-member elected Board of County Commissioners, who appoint the County Administrator, Attorney, Auditor, and numerous advisory and regulatory boards. The Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement agency for Broward County, and is responsible for law enforcement and fire rescue duties throughout the county.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services to County courts, Broward College campuses, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and municipalities including Pembroke Park, West Park, Lauderdale Lakes and Pompano Beach. The Metro Broward Drug Task Force is specially trained to investigate cases involving mid- to upper-level offenders, including pharmaceutical traffickers and grow house operations. While other states are legalizing or decriminalizing possession and/or cultivation of marijuana, and 21 states have made medical marijuana legal, Florida residents are currently subject to Florida state marijuana laws (under Statute 893.13). Statute 893 outlaws the sale, manufacture and possession of marijuana by any person in the state. Broward County residents are subject to this statute, also known as the “Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.”

Broward County Seal

Florida’s Statue 893 Bans Marijuana Possession and Cultivation in Broward County

Violations of Statute 893 can bring serious consequences, including fines, jail time and felony charges. For example, possession of one ounce of marijuana in Broward County is a third degree felony, punishable by fines up to $5,000 and jail time up to five years. Possession of three-quarters of an ounce, or 21 grams, of marijuana is considered in Broward County to be as serious as child abuse, battery of a law enforcement officer or aggravated assault. Cultivating marijuana in Broward County and all of Florida is a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Owning a property used as a marijuana growing facility carries the same degree of punishment, while living in or operating the property or grow house is a second degree felony, with a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison. And if a minor is present during operations, or a resident of the property, the crime becomes a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Synthetic Cannabis Law in Broward County

The Broward County Commission passed an ordinance to ban synthetic cannabis, known as herbal incense, and other synthetic drugs, commonly known as bath salts. These substances, which are designed as alternatives to illegal substances, can cause serious side effects. Before the ban, they were sold over the counter, often through convenience stores and gas stations throughout the county. Now, merchants who sell or advertise these drugs are in violation of the law and subject to prosecution, a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.

Floridians Set to Vote on Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Florida voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical marijuana throughout the state. If the proposed constitutional Amendment 2 passes with at least 60% of the vote, Florida residents could obtain a doctor’s certificate that qualifies them for medical marijuana. Under the proposed amendment, individuals must have a debilitating medical condition or disease that, in the physician’s opinion, could benefit from marijuana. The list of debilitating medical conditions includes:

• Cancer
• Glaucoma
• HIV/AIDS
• Hepatitis C
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
• Crohn’s disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient.

Those with identification cards issued by the state Department of Health could then possess an “adequate supply” of marijuana, as well as edibles, oils, tinctures and beverages. Medical marijuana would be available through state-licensed dispensaries, called “Medical Treatment Centers.”

Additional Laws Governing Medical Marijuana in Broward County

Current county laws that prohibit smoking tobacco or driving under the influence would also apply to medical marijuana. For example, enclosed workplaces are 100% smoke-free in Florida, so marijuana smoking would also be banned. And in Broward County, commissioners went a step further and passed an ordinance last year to ban smoking in public parks—even through they don’t have legal authority to enforce it. Throughout the state of Florida, driving under the influence of marijuana—even if it is obtained under legal means—will continue to be against the law.

If you’re a Broward County resident who is issued a medical marijuana card, the safest way to go is to use it in your own home. Don’t drive under the influence, and don’t try lighting up at your local park.

Florida Sheriffs Oppose Medical Marijuana

The Florida Sheriffs Association is leading a statewide campaign opposing Amendment 2, saying they “have an obligation to educate our constituents and the people we’ve sworn to protect.” The Sheriffs Association is coordinating with other groups opposing the amendment, such as Save Our Society From Drugs, as well as other law enforcement officials.

Do you have any questions regarding marijuana laws in Broward County? Please share your thoughts below or in the forums.