If you're planning on celebrating the Fourth of July in Florida with fireworks purchased at a roadside stand, you may want to brush up on Florida's fireworks laws before you light them up.
Just because you can buy them on the side of the road, doesn't mean they're legal. There are both legal and illegal fireworks available at these tents and businesses that sell fireworks. There is a loophole that allows those vendors to sell the fireworks for legal, approved users. According to Florida statutes, the sale and purchase of fireworks used for agricultural purposes is allowed. That includes frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.
The only fireworks that are legal for use by those who don't have a special permit are those that fall into the "sparklers" category.
MORE 4TH OF JULY HEADLINES
- 4th of July Celebrations throughout the Tampa Bay Area
- Stay safe this 4th of July with these tips and regulations
- Reminder: 4th of July fireworks can be fun, but not for veterans with PTSD
When you purchase fireworks that are not under the sparklers category, you will often be asked to sign a waiver at the fireworks stand or store. This waiver protects the store. You are signing that you will use the fireworks for agricultural purposes to scare off animals.
As a general guideline, anything that flies through the air or explodes is not allowed for consumer use. Floridians should not sign "waivers" in order to purchase fireworks. Signing a waiver will not clear a consumer of responsibility should you be caught illegally using fireworks, which is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Florida Fire Marshal publishes a list of legal sparklers each year. Check it out here.