Medical Marijuana in Florida
State of Florida Medical Marijuana Law – Amendment 2
On May 5, 2017, the legislative session in the state of Florida came to a close. Legislation regarding the implementation of Amendment 2 – which many proponents of medical marijuana had high hopes for – failed to pass, meaning that the Florida Department of Health will now move forward with implementing its own guidelines and regulations regarding the introduction of medical marijuana in the state.
As a brief recap, Amendment 2 refers to Florida’s medical marijuana law, which was approved by more than 70 percent of voters in November 2016. The law provides protections for doctors and patients against criminal charges for the distribution/use of marijuana in the state.
Florida Department of Health Medical Marijuana Guidelines
Because the legislature failed to pass anything related to the implementation of Florida’s seemingly popular marijuana law, the Department of Health (DOH), Office of Compassionate Use, is responsible for implementing Amendment 2. However, these proposed regulations have been criticized as being too restrictive, and include the following important points:
- Physicians must place an order for medical marijuana for their patients;
- Physician orders must be submitted, along with patient information and medical marijuana dosage information, to a state registry;
- Physicians may only prescribe medical marijuana for a total of 10 conditions listed by the DOH and conditions that are “determined by the Florida Board of Medicine”;
- Only seven vendors are delegated (with the nearly impossible task of serving almost half a million people eligible to purchase and use marijuana); and
- Prescribing physicians must have an established relationship with the patient, defined as having had treated the patient for at least three months prior to issuing a prescription.
These regulations have been strongly criticized as not being consistent with the language nor intent of Amendment 2.
Florida Medical Marijuana Proponents Try to Reach More Patients
While the legislature may have failed to pass legislation for the implementation of Amendment 2, there are a number of House and Senate members who are invested in expanding the industry. Throughout the legislative session, a series of amendments were proposed that would add more businesses able to procure marijuana licenses.
However, disagreements about how many marijuana dispensaries the state of Florida should have was the breaking point during the legislative session, ultimately resulting in the failure to pass legislation. The president of the Florida Senate, Joe Negron, is considering holding a special session on medical marijuana in order to reach an agreement on the number of dispensaries and set the framework for Amendment 2. At this point, it appears as though Department of Health officials will move forward with the guidelines listed above.
Legal Counsel Following Marijuana Criminal Charges in Florida
Amendment 2, and the difficulties in implementing it, may leave some patients and doctors wondering what their rights are concerning the distribution and use of medical marijuana. As lawmakers work out the kinks of Amendment 2 implementation, our experienced Florida marijuana defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A. are here to answer any questions that you may have, or defend you if you are facing criminal charges related to the possession or distribution of marijuana.