Highlights of the new Florida rules for Medical Marijuana

Governor Rick Scott signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state of Florida.  Lawmakers had been unable to pass the measure in the regular session, so it passed the new law (SB 8A) in a special session.  Before the ink is dry, there are several lawsuits threatened.  John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who bankrolled the constitutional amendment, plans to sue over the ban on smoking marijuana and Joe Redner, the Tampa strip club owner plans to file a lawsuit because people cannot grow their own plants. Here are the highlights from the new rules:

  • The bill includes procedures for patients to be issued medical marijuana for all debilitating medical conditions listed in the State Constitution, but also includes two other conditions: (1) Chronic nonmalignant pain, which is defined as pain that is caused by or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of the qualifying medical condition; and (2) terminal conditions.
  • Eliminate the 90-day waiting period before the qualified physician may register a patient for medical marijuana.
  • Allow marijuana edibles and vaping, but prohibit the smoking of marijuana.
  • Establish qualifications to become a caregiver and require a caregiver to be registered on the medical marijuana use registry and possess a caregiver identification card.
  • Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) may begin dispensing marijuana pursuant to this law on July 3, 2017.
  • It will be illegal for a qualified patient or caregiver cultivating marijuana or acquiring marijuana from anyone other than an MMTC.
  • It does not limit an employer’s ability regarding a drug-free workplace program or policy, does not require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace or an employee working while under the influence of marijuana, does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination, and that marijuana is not reimbursable under ch. 440, F.S., relating to workers’ compensation.
  • Rename the Office of Compassionate Use in the DOH, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
  • A physician may issue a physician certification for low-THC cannabis only, to a patient who is pregnant.

Read the entire Florida law signed by Governor Scott at the link listed above.

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