Miami is a pretty relaxed, progressive city. When Florida legalized hemp in 2019, after two years of medical marijuana, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced it would no longer prosecute most minor marijuana charges because the substance is virtually indistinguishable from hemp.
However, they’re cracking down hard on public consumption. Smoking weed is a big no-no in Miami, even at lounges and on beaches, regardless of whether you’re a medical marijuana cardholder or not.
Can you smoke weed on South Beach?
While South Beach Miami is a hotbed for tourism and industry, public consumption is illegal. In short, no. You can’t smoke weed on Miami beaches.
In 2019, city commissioners unanimously voted to outlaw public smoking of cannabis and hemp. Under the city’s new law, anyone observed smoking cannabis, hemp, or marijuana on a public right-of-way is subject to a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in county jail.
You will also face harsh penalties if you are caught consuming cannabis within 1000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified area. Failure to comply will stick you with a Felony charge as well as up to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
Will public consumption be allowed if Florida ever legalized recreational cannabis?
Odds are, no. Public consumption will likely be outlawed entirely until the laws surrounding cannabis change on a federal level.
That’s not just Florida, either. Every state that has passed some form of recreational marijuana includes laws that make public consumption illegal regardless of its decriminalized status.
It doesn’t look like Florida’s up for discussing recreational cannabis anytime soon, either. More and more regulations are being placed upon the cannabis industry that will continue to make it difficult to legalize marijuana. There’s a good chance it could be on the ballot in 2022, but if it doesn’t make it, we may not see it again until 2024.
All in all, you can’t currently consume cannabis publicly in Florida. Cannabis must be legalized on the federal level for that conversation to open up again. Until then, use cannabis privately and away from specified areas, like schools or parks.
So where can you smoke?
In short, nowhere.
Legally speaking, the only place you can smoke cannabis is in your private residence. Especially here in Miami. Even though the city is pretty relaxed with its cannabis users, they simply ask not to catch you smoking anything that resembles cannabis or hemp.
Even if you’re a medical marijuana patient with the recommendation to use cannabis to treat your symptoms, you have to consume cannabis within your own private residence, and it’s illegal to be caught using it elsewhere. You can travel with small amounts of medical marijuana, but you can’t be caught using it without facing the possibility of jail time or a fine.
The smartest thing to do is rely on using other types of cannabis, like edibles.
Is there a loophole?
Technically speaking, yes. You can opt for Delta-8 THC instead of the traditional Delta-9 THC.
Delta-8 THC exists in a state of legal purgatory, at the moment. 11 states have flat out agreed that Delta-8 THC is illegal. But for most of the country, this idea is pretty up in the air. The DEA is looking to pass a rule that would deem delta-8 THC a schedule 1 controlled substance, just like cannabis and its psychoactive compound, delta-9 THC.
However, there’s a bit of a loophole here. Cannabis is illegal, but under the 2018 farm bill, hemp is illegal for all sorts of uses so long as it tests under 0.3% delta-9 THC. Delta-8 doesn’t come from cannabis. It comes from hemp, which is completely legal. Last year, the DEA introduced an interim rule to help differentiate between cannabis and hemp, saying All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances,” which would make delta-8 illegal on the federal level.
There’s still a bit of time before that happens, though. And until it does, delta-8 is hanging out in a legal gray area.
With that said, you can use delta-8 THC, just don’t smoke it. Miami passed a law that makes smoking anything in Miami — including ordinary hemp— illegal since the police can’t accurately differentiate between a hemp cigarette and a marijuana cigarette.
You can, however, use hemp and CBD oils, or try delta-8 chocolates or gummies. As long as you’re not physically smoking green anywhere other than a private residence, you’re pretty much good to go. Just be careful navigating the illegal recreational market and watch out for scammy drug dealers.