When it comes to medical marijuana in Florida laws, it’s important to know exactly where you stand if you are seeking treatment with medical marijuana. As a reputable and experienced medical marijuana doctor in Florida, I can’t emphasize the importance of educating yourself on state law and your rights as a medical marijuana patient.
Medical Marijuana in Florida: Laws You Should Know
If you have been researching medical marijuana treatment then you may find yourself a little overwhelmed with the legal jargon that states Florida’s position on this method of medical treatment. Today we’re going to look at this legal jargon in a language that’s a little more understandable…
Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act
In June of 2014, then Florida governor Rick Scott signed the Florida Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. This act permitted physicians who are licensed with the state to prescribe low-THC cannabis for patients who meet specified criteria beginning on January 1, 2015. The law also stipulated that patients may not ingest their medical cannabis by smoking.
Specifically, this act stated…
- Patients and their legal representatives may possess and purchase low-THC cannabis.
- Owners, managers, and employees of medical marijuana dispensary organizations may manufacture, possess, sell, deliver, distribute, dispense, and lawfully dispose of low-THC cannabis.
- Recognized medical centers in Florida may conduct research on cannabidiol and low-THC cannabis
- State universities, with both medical and agricultural research programs, may conduct research on cannabidiol and low-THC cannabis.
- A physician may only order low-THC cannabis for patients who are Florida residents, who suffer from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, and for whom no acceptable alternative treatment options are available.
What is Low-THC Cannabis?
Low-THC cannabis is defined under Florida law as a product or derivative of cannabis that contains 0.8% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10% cannabidiol (CBD).
In March of 2016, then-governor Rick Scott signed HB307. This expanded the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act to allow terminally ill patients (those expected to die within a year without life-sustaining procedures) to ingest all forms of medical cannabis. HB307 also added new stipulations to the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act requiring medical cannabis users to register with the Florida Department of Health’s Compassionate Use Registry and to obtain a medical cannabis ID card.
Specifically, this house bill stated…
- A licensed medical physician may order low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for eligible patients if the physician believes that the benefits of low-THC cannabis use are greater than the risks of treating the patient.
- An “eligible patient” is an individual who has been diagnosed with a terminal condition by a physician, a condition that has also been confirmed by another independent board-certified physician
- 3 new cannabis “dispensing organizations” shall be established when 250,000 qualified patients register with the state of Florida compassionate use registry.
- A “dispensing organization” is an organization that has been authorized by the Department of Health to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and cannabis devices.
- Dispensing organizations must package cannabis in a receptacle with a label that meets state requirements and includes the name of the dispensing organization where the cannabis originated and the batch number or harvest from which the cannabis originated.
- Dispensing organizations must have alarm systems, 24-hour video surveillance, and additional security measures in place.
- Establishes that the act of ordering medical cannabis without reasonable belief that the patient has a terminal condition is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative
In November of 2016, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also known as Amendment 2) was voted on by Floridians and passed. This initiative supported legalizing medical marijuana for individuals with specific debilitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions as determined by a licensed state physician. This broadened the definition of an eligible patient for medical marijuana treatment making treatment available to those who were not facing terminal illness.
Senate Bill 8A
In June 2017, Senate Bill 8A was passed. This bill outlined more specifics on both the use of and administration of medical marijuana in the state of Florida. It was the passing of Senate Bill 8A that led to the establishment of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
This bill established that…
- Transactions related to marijuana and marijuana delivery devices used for medical purposes are exempt from state tax
- Additional medical conditions deem a patient eligible to receive marijuana or a marijuana delivery device
- Medical marijuana testing laboratories would be established
- The Coalition for Medical Marijuana Research and Education within the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc. would be established
Have Questions About Medical Marijuana in Florida Laws?
If you have questions about medical marijuana in Florida laws and are interested in pursuing medical marijuana treatment in Florida, Benevolent Care can help. Use our simple online medical marijuana doctor appointment tool to make an appointment to see Dr. Tirmal and get all of your questions about medical marijuana treatment answered.