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New Florida Marijuana Laws Coming

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New Florida Marijuana Laws Coming

As noted in previous articles about the United for Care petition, the Florida marijuana petition is expected to pass easily in November, 2016 (as Amendment 2 again), but this is not the end of the story. Once Amendment 2 passes, Florida’s Department of Health will be in charge of overseeing Florida’s medical marijuana program (just as it is in charge now under the low-THC  Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act). The United for Care petition defines “Medical marijuana Treatment Centers” (MMTC) as the entities that will grow, process, and distribute all medical marijuana. More specifically, an MMTC is defined as “an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their caregivers and is registered by the Department [of Health].”  A “qualifying patient” is defined as a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, who has a physician certification and a valid qualifying patient identification card. “Debilitating Medical Condition” means “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

New Florida Marijuana Regulations Also Coming

Amendment 2 makes clear that the Florida Department of Health must promulgate “reasonable regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement” of the new Florida marijuana law to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by “qualifying patients.” More specifically, Amendment 2 requires that the following regulations be adopted no later than six (6) months after the effective date of the new Florida marijuana law:

  • Procedures for issuance and annual renewal of qualifying patient identification cards to people with physician certifications and standards for renewal of such identification cards. Before issuing an identification card to a minor, the Department [of Health] must receive written consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian, in addition to the physician certification.
  • Procedures establishing qualifications and standards for caregivers, including conducting appropriate background checks, and procedures for issuance and annual renewal of caregiver identification cards.
  • Procedures for registration of MMTCs to include issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure proper security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.
  • A regulation defining the amount of marijuana reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patients’ medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use.

Scope And Practice Of Florida Marijuana Law Still To Be Determined

As you can see, although the Florida marijuana amendment is expected to pass and although it defines who can legally use and sell medical marijuana in Florida thereafter, the exact parameters of Florida marijuana laws and regulations will not be known entirely until the Florida Department of Health issues the required regulations to implement the new law. It is also expected that the Florida legislature will enact enabling legislation implementing the new law as well. This means that the state of Florida marijuana laws will be in flux for sometime, but at least medical marijuana is coming to Florida.

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