marijuana law

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Failed Medical Marijuana Applicant’s Appeal Goes Up in Smoke Thanks to Pennsylvania Court

Attorney George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On April 20, 2018, a Pennsylvania court agreed that a company that lost out on a potentially profitable cannabis dispensary permit needed to exhaust administrative remedies before it could file suit. The suit would challenge the constitutionality of the application process for the state’s new medical marijuana program.

A court panel rejected arguments from Keystone ReLeaf LLC (Keystone), which has asked that all medical marijuana permits issued by the state’s Department of Health (DOH) be revoked. Keystone claims that the administrative appeals process did not offer an adequate remedy for the denial of its application.

Keystone’s lawsuit accused the DOH, along with its new Office of Medical Marijuana, of engaging in an inequitable and unconstitutional permitting process. Additionally, Keystone claims the DOH failed to explain how it scored the applications.

The company was one of 450 to submit applications to the DOH as the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act took effect under a set of temporary regulations in 2017. There were 12 growing and processing permits and 27 dispensary permits issued through the initial application process.

In response, the DOH filed preliminary objections to the lawsuit seeking dismissal based on Keystone’s failure to complete the appeals process.

The court stated that challenges to the constitutionality of permitting programs typically did not require the exhaustion of administrative remedies. However, Keystone’s lawsuit dealt with how the department was applying the act and regulations governing its implementation. Additionally, where Keystone claimed it did not have an adequate administrative remedy available, the court determined the process needed to be completed before any court could make such a judgment.

To read the court’s opinion on this case, click here.

To stay on top of medical marijuana policy, click here to read one of my prior blogs and check our Marijuana Law Blog regularly.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Fair, Matt. “Pa. Court Won’t Derail State’s Medical Marijuana Program.” Law360. (April 20, 2018). Web.

Miller, Matt. “Jilted medical marijuana permit applicant’s ‘premature’ appeal to Pa. court goes up in smoke.” PennLive. (April 21, 2018). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Growing marijuana industry, marijuana defense attorney, medical marijuana defense attorney, lawyer for medical marijuana growers and distributors, health lawyers for marijuana distributors, legal counsel for marijuana growers and distributors, medical marijuana laws, marijuana laws, medical marijuana legalization, recreational marijuana laws and regulations, legal representation for recreational marijuana in a business, legal counsel for marijuana law, marijuana law attorney, legal representation for marijuana criminalization, legal representation for marijuana regulations, legal representation for U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations, DOJ investigation attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2018 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2018-07-05T17:37:59+00:00July 5th, 2018|marijuana law, Marijuana Law Blog|0 Comments

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On March 16, 2016, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives passed a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in certain forms. The vote was 149-43, with all voting Democrats and more than half of Republicans in support of the bill. The bill now moves onto the Senate, which has already approved an earlier version of the measure 10 months ago.

Growth in Medical Marijuana Programs.

In 2014, the Senate approved medical marijuana legislation, but stalled in committee and never reached a vote in the House. In 2015, the original version of the bill passed the Senate by a 40-7 vote. House Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, who is a major proponent of medical marijuana said, “We want to get this done ASAP.”

The bill that passed would establish a system of growers and dispensaries to provide marijuana to patients with certain conditions. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, HIV and AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All patients are required to be certified by a doctor.

The Stipulations of the Bill.

Under this bill, patients would be allowed to use marijuana in the form of a pill or oil, or through vaporization but they would not be allowed to smoke it. Sales from the dispensaries would be taxed at 5 percent, with the money paying for the Department of Health (DOH) operations for the program. It will also go toward law enforcement and drug abuse services and for research about medical marijuana in general.

Gov. Tom Wolf, indicated that he was eager to pass the legislation and sign the finished product. “We will finally provide the essential help needed by patients suffering from seizures cancer and other illnesses,” Mr. Wolf stated.

If you want to learn more about medical marijuana legislation, click here to read our medical marijuana law blog.  Be sure to check back regularly as we update our blog with helpful information frequently.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Packel, Dan. “Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Pa. House.” Law360. (March 16, 2016). Web.

Langley, Karen. “Pennsylvania House passes medical marijuana bill.” Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau. (March 16, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: medical marijuana, medical marijuana growers, medical marijuana cultivation, medical marijuana license, Pennsylvania medical cannabis, medical marijuana lawyer, marijuana attorney, low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, Department of Health (DOH), Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana regulations, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney, cannabis for treatment of debilitating medical condition, formal administrative hearing

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

What You Should Know Before Dabbing Into the Risks of Marijuana-Related Mergers and Acquisitions

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

As public support grows for the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. and Canada, mergers and acquisitions lawyers should be studying up now on the ins and outs of cannabis compliance. In the U.S., there are 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, which have all legalized medical marijuana. In addition, there are nine states including Colorado and Massachusetts have recently legalized the drug for recreational use.

As a result, there is expected to be a serious increase in marijuana-related mergers and acquisitions activity. Now is the time for lawyers to research and prepare for the types of problems that may arise.

Regulatory Compliance.

One of the most serious issues related to conducting business or providing legal services in the cannabis industry is regulatory compliance and, specifically, the increased legal risk. Currently, the steps needed to ensure regulatory compliance are different depending on the type of deal.

The most popular types of business ventures seem to be minority businesses and venture capital investments into ancillary companies. These include dispensary advertising and delivery systems such as vapor (vape) pens and electronic cigarettes (e-cigs).

It’s important for mergers and acquisitions attorneys to come to terms with rapid growing interest from clients. Typically, the first step is trying to outline the best practices for the client. An experienced attorney may be able to assist in developing compliance procedures to mitigate some of the risks.

Other Challenges.

Banks and insurers have so far been very unwilling to help with financing in the marijuana industry. The negative stigma attached to weed makes it far more difficult to wheel and deal as compared to other industries.

In January 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo calling marijuana a “dangerous drug” and marijuana-related activity a “serious crime.” Click here to read the memo. The current administration’s disapproval of the drug could have a negative effect on marijuana-related mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, attorneys who have experience navigating the complexities of deals in the marijuana industry are expected to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. To read one of my prior blogs on the status of legalized marijuana in the U.S., click here.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical and Recreational Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Horney, Benjamin. “Lawyers Needed To Cut Through The Weeds Of Pot M&A.” Law360. (March 2, 2018). Web.

Weinmann, Karlee. “Buzzing Pot Industry Poised For M&A Evolution Despite Risks.” Law360. (January 21, 2015). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Growing marijuana industry, marijuana defense attorney, medical marijuana defense attorney, lawyer for medical marijuana growers and distributors, health lawyers for marijuana distributors, legal counsel for marijuana growers and distributors, medical marijuana laws, marijuana laws, medical marijuana legalization, recreational marijuana laws and regulations, legal representation for recreational marijuana in a business, legal counsel for marijuana law, marijuana law attorney, legal representation for marijuana criminalization, legal representation for marijuana regulations, legal representation for U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations, DOJ investigation attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2018 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2018-07-09T19:27:07+00:00May 15th, 2018|marijuana law|0 Comments

Orlando One Step Closer to Decriminalizing Marijuana as Commissioners Approve New Ordinance

Attorney George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On April 18, 2016, Orlando moved a one step closer to effectively decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. The City Council narrowly backed a measure that would allow officers to issue tickets to some people caught with the drug.

Orlando commissioners voted 4-3 to approve the ordinance, which would make possession of 20 grams (about two-thirds of an ounce) or less a violation of city code carrying a $50 fine for first-time offenders.

Marijuana Still Remains a State Crime.

Even if it passes, marijuana possession will remain a state crime in Florida. Orlando police Chief John Mina said officers may still make arrests even for small amounts in the future, depending on the circumstances including the offender’s record. Officers already have the option to confiscate small amounts of marijuana without making an arrest.

“This cannot [and] will not replace the criminal state statute … our officers will have the discretion to arrest in certain situations,” Mina said. “This just gives them another option.”

The council plans to take a final vote on the measure on May 9. If approved then, it would take effect immediately.

To read one of my prior blogs on marijuana legislation in Florida, click here.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Weiner, Jeff. “Orlando narrowly approves marijuana ordinance on first vote.” Orlando Sentinel. (April 18, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Florida marijuana legislation, decriminalization of marijuana in Florida, health care attorney, defense lawyer, health law defense attorney, medical marijuna, Florida medical cannabis, medical marijuana defense attorney, health law, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

New Medical-Marijuana Amendment to be Reviewed for Inclusion on Ballot

Attorney George F. Indest III Headshot By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A new medical-marijuana amendment will be reviewed by the Department of State. The second push in Florida has more than 100,000 signatures in favor to date. The petitions were given to the state on Wednesday by an organization called United for Care.

This Year’s Version Addresses Loopholes.

Critics have said legal marijuana would result in dispensaries on street corners, minors obtaining joints and giving drug dealers a legal supply. This year’s version of the amendment will address all of these issues. It will allow the state to ban felons who are working as care-givers from purchasing for qualified patients.

The New Version Gives New Definition for ‘Qualified Patient.’

Additionally, the amendment tightens the definition of “qualified patient.” A patient must have one of a list of serious diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS or a disease of “the same kind or class.” Last year, the version allowed doctors to prescribe marijuana for any condition they believed the benefits outweighed the risk.

The Department of State Must Review in 30 Days.

The Department of State has 30 days to review the 100,000 signatures. It does this in order to make sure at least 68,317 of the signatures are valid. Then, the state Supreme Court will determine if the proposal is constitutional and focuses on one subject. Ben Pollara, campaign manager at United for Care, says they expect to have the review date by mid-August.

To read a past blog on the 2015 policy, click here.

Comments?

Did you sign the petition? Do you agree with the stricter policies? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact the Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Sweeney, Dan. “New medical-post amendment advances.” Orlando Sentinel. (July 23, 2015). Print.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: United for Care, defense attorney, health law, health care attorney, health care lawyer, health investigation, medical license, Department of State, health attorney, medical marijuana lawyer, medical cannabis, cannabis, marijuana, THC, medical THC, health conditions, cancer, cancer patients, medical marijuana petitions, petitions, Florida, Florida marijuana, petition for rule challenge

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Could Marijuana Be a Successful Treatment For Opioid Addiction? Lawmakers Are Considering This Alternative Treatment

Attorney George F. Indest III Headshot By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Recently, a growing number of patients and doctors have claimed that medical marijuana may help treat addiction to painkillers and heroin. These claims have intrigued lawmakers and advocates who are pushing for marijuana as a treatment for the abuse of opioids and narcotics like heroin, as well as an alternative to painkillers.

One Problem: Very Little Supporting Research.

As there has been a growing problem with addiction to painkillers and heroin, this seems like a promising treatment. There is one problem however.  There is very little research showing that marijuana works effectively as a treatment for the addiction.

According to advocates, a growing amount of scientific literature supports the idea and a study in the Journal of Pain published in 2016, found that chronic pain sufferers significantly reduced their opioid use when taking medical marijuana.

The supporting research also falls short of concluding marijuana actually helps wean people off painkillers and illegal narcotics like heroin. Many health care professionals say it’s not enough for them to confidently prescribe marijuana as a treatment for addiction.

Is Marijuana a Safe Alternative?

Even though some patients and doctors have claimed the treatment is successful, not everyone is convinced. Cannabis could have limited benefits as a treatment alternative, said Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Kevin Hill, authored the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study that found benefits in using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. But he also urged caution.

“If you are thinking about using cannabis as opposed to using opioids for chronic pain, then I do think the evidence does support it,” he said. “However, I think one place where sometimes cannabis advocates go too far is when they talk about using cannabis to treat opioid addiction.”

Additionally, some substance abuse experts argue that there are already approved medications to treat addiction. They also claim that it would be wrong to portray marijuana as completely safe because it can also be addictive.

To read one of my prior blogs on medical marijuana and the list of recommended uses, click here.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Casey, Michael. “Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?” Associated Press. (April 26,2016). Web.

“Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?” CBS News. (April 26, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Marijuana treatment for opioid addiction, alternative addiction treatment, alternative for painkillers, Florida medical marijuana, medical marijuana legislation, medical marijuana laws, medical cannabis, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Journal of Pain, medical marijuana stores, medical marijuana license, medical marijuana legalization, medical marijuana lawyer, defense attorney, health lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Group Pushing For New Marijuana Legalization Amendment in Florida

Attorney George F. Indest III Headshot By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

There is a new effort to legalize the use of marijuana in Florida and not just for medical purposes. Petitions will soon hit the streets for a proposed constitutional amendment that would completely legalize use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by Florida adults.

Getting the Measure on the November 2016 Ballot.

The Florida Cannabis Action Network, along with a committee called Floridians For Freedom, stated that it had received state approval to begin seeking signatures which would get their measure on the November 2016 ballot. This measure is distinct from a previous amendment led by Orlando Lawyer John Morgan, who wanted to legalize marijuana for medical purposes only.

Floridians For Freedom will have to gather about 67,000 valid signatures to get the effort to the next phase which is Florida Supreme Court review. Then the group will have to gather an additional 600,000 valid signatures to get it qualified for the ballot next fall. To visit their website, click here.

“Ending Prohibition” of Marijuana Under State Law.

According to Jodi James, chair of Floridians For Freedom and executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, all the commercial aspects of marijuana would be controlled by rules and regulations set by the Florida Legislature and Department of Commerce. “We want it to be legal. We want it to be regulated. We want it controlled. We want people to have safe access,” James said.

The Florida Cannabis Action Network currently has 20,000 members that it will call on to help collect valid signatures. To read one of our previous blogs on marijuana policy, click here.

Comments?

What are your thoughts on making marijuana completely legalized? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Powers, Scott. “Group to push amendment that would completely legalize marijuana.” Orlando Sentinel. (September 2, 2015). Print.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Legalize marijuana, Florida medical marijuana, medical cannabis, medical marijuana, medical marijuana lawyer, medical marijuana license, defense attorney, defense lawyer, health lawyer, marijuana, recreational cannabis, recreational marijuana, marijuana cultivation, Floridians For Freedom, Florida, Cannabis Action Network, commercial use of marijuana, Florida Legislature, Department of Commerce, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Canada to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in 2017: Spring Breakers to Go North Next Year

6 Indest-2008-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On April 20, 2016, Canada’s Health Minister announced that the Canadian government will introduce a new law in the Spring of 2017 to legalize recreational marijuana and regulate sales. This law fulfills Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election pledge and follows the footsteps of several U.S. states that are attempting to decriminalize and permit easy access to the drug.

The Details.

Canada’s Health Minister Jane Philpott, who recently spoke at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the Canadian law will ensure marijuana is kept away from children and keep criminals from profiting from its sales. “We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” she said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of them problem.”

Since many major Canadian cities are located within 100 miles of the U.S. border, Canada’s legalization could spur border states to enact their own legislation to prevent the exodus of tourism dollars.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Separate Issues.

The use of medical marijuana is a separate issue from recreational marijuana in Canada and is already legal. Canada’s medical marijuana growers say the rise in illegal marijuana dispensaries is costing them valuable customers and money.

Toronto’s former chief of police Bill Blair, has emphasized current laws banning marijuana remain in effect, but illegal dispensaries have multiplied since Justin Trudeau, who became prime minister after his Liberal Party came into power. To read more on his pledge to legalize and regulate marijuana, click here.

The Canadian government has not yet provided details on the production and distribution plans.

To read one of my prior blogs on the use of recreational marijuana, click here.

Spring Breakers To Go North?

In light of Canada’s marihoochee initiative, and the misplaced efforts of Florida vacation cities to ban alcohol, it may very well be that many spring breakers will decide to go north, instead of south next year. A recent article on Panama City Beach advised that its businesses have suffered their worst year in recent history, driven primarily by reduced revenues during spring break. This was allegedly caused by a strong crackdown on public alcohol consumption by anyone. Gee, who would have ever guessed that this might negatively affect tourism dollars and business income in a resort beach community? Click here to read the article in full.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:
Kovac, Adam. “Canada aims for pot legalization in 2017.” USA Today. (April 26, 2016). Web.

Freeman, Alan. “Canada to introduce legislation in 2017 to legalize the sale of maijuana.” The Washington Post. (April 20, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Marijuana legislation, decriminalization of marijuana, recreational marijuana legislation in Canada, regulating sales of marijuana, marijuana growers, marijuana distributors, Canada’s 2017 legislation to legalize marijuana, health care attorney, defense lawyer, health law defense attorney, medical marijuana, Florida medical cannabis, medical marijuana defense attorney, health law, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Shortage of Florida Physicians Approved to Recommend “Green Leaf Relief” for Patients

7 Indest-2008-4By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Florida may be “going green” in a big way come November 2016; and I’m not talking about recycling.  The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Ballot Initiative Amendment 2, has undergone revisions, and will likely be making its second run with voters since its marginal loss in 2014.  Promoters of the Constitutional Amendment predict success; hopefully this isn’t just a pipe dream.

However, the Florida Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, currently allows low-THC cannabis to be utilized only by qualifying patients for certain medical ailments.  A licensed physician, as outlined in Chapter 458 or 459 of Florida Statutes, is required to qualify patients for the use of medical marijuana.

For FAQ’s on low-THC cannabis issued by the Florida Department of Health (DOH), click here.

Physician Requirements for Qualifying Patients and Ordering.

For a patient to qualify to obtain and use THC, a previously approved physician must examine and currently be treating a patient for a debilitating illness.  Such illnesses include cancer or any physical medical condition or ailment that produces chronic seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms (such as epilepsy or multiple sclerosis).  Furthermore, the physician must have tried all other options of treatment without satisfactory results.  Medical marijuana must be a last resort alternative.  Section 381.986(2), Florida Statutes (2015).

One of the physician ordering requirements is that the doctor must “register as the orderer of low-THC cannabis for the named patient on the compassionate use registry maintained by the department [of health] and update the registry to reflect the contents of the order.”  Section 381.986(2)(c), Florida Statutes (2015).

In order to become registered in Florida, licensed physicians must successfully complete an 8-hour course, offered by either the Florida Medical Association (FMA) or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA).  It is necessary for the physician to satisfactorily pass an examination upon completion of the course.  Section 381.986(4), Florida Statutes (2015).

Currently, only 42 doctors varied throughout Florida in areas to include Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, have signed up for authorization.

Why the Lack of Physicians?

Several theories may account for the lack of physician involvement in the program in Florida.

One of the theories that may explain why physicians are hesitant to jump on board with this new-age line of treatment, is the lack of scientific research conducted in the United States to back the medical efficacy of medical marijuana.  Scientists are reluctant to answer even the most basic questions about the use of medical marijuana including the long-term risks, actual benefits and the overall effect of legalization.

Many physicians may be concerned that the use of medical marijuana is supported more by popular opinion than on actual medical research.

However, a primary reason for insignificant research may be due to the unavailability of the drug for scientific study due to its illegal status.  The federal government entirely restricts the authorization to use marijuana for medical research.  The media is replete with stories on this.  As the debate over marijuana and its legalization for medical use becomes more widespread and pertinent, the drug has concurrently become more available for research.

For more information on current medical marijuana research efforts as reported by U.S.A. Today, click here.

Who Will Dispense the Marijuana?

Another hold-up in support from physicians may be due to the fact that the Department of Health (DOH) is still in the process of selecting the five dispensing organizations throughout Florida that will be developing and dispensing the drug.

As originally proposed, this requires an arduous application process presently consisting of proposals from 24 competing companies.  A dispensing organization must have the ability to meet several requirements as set forth in the statues, including the financial ability to post a $5 million performance bond upon approval.  Section 381.986(5)(b), Florida Statutes (2015).

Many physicians are still waiting to know where the drugs will be dispensed, what the dosages will be, what forms they will be available in and how much they will cost.  These are all important factors to consider in determining whether or not medical marijuana may be beneficial to certain patients.

Penalties for Misuse.

A final reason for physician avoidance of marijuana is fear of criminal prosecution and discipline by their boards, given the lingering gray areas of the law.

To read one of our previous blogs regarding a federal judge’s challenge of the DOJ’s incorrect interpretation of federal law on medical marijuana prosecutions and a win for medical marijuana advocates across the nation, click here.

It is undisputed that the use of medical marijuana is on the rise.  Therefore, any licensed physician who is contemplating or has already signed up for the program, needs to be sure they are in strict compliance with Florida law.

A physician is committing a misdemeanor, which may result in criminal penalties, if he or she orders low-THC cannabis for a patient without possessing a reasonable belief that the patient is suffering from one of the debilitating medical conditions as described in Section 381.986(3)(a)(1) and (2), Florida Statutes.

It is one of the ongoing duties of the dispensing organizations established by the Department to “monitor physician registration and ordering of low-THC cannabis for ordering practices that could facilitate unlawful diversion or misuse of low-THC cannabis and take disciplinary action as indicated.”  Section 381.986(5)(b)(7)(c), Florida Statutes (2015).

Therefore, a physician interested in obtaining authorization to order medical marijuana for his or her patients, should contact an experienced health attorney as a safeguard to ensure he or she complies fully with the law.

Comments?

Why do you believe there is a lack of physician involvement in Florida in the medical marijuana program?  What are your thoughts on the availability of medical marijuana in Florida?

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Sources:

Powers, Scott.  “Medical-pot backers unfazed only 42 doctors in program.”  Orlando Sentinel 20 August 2015: Final.  Print.

Caputo, Mark.  “Medical marijuana supporters unveil new proposal for 2016.”  Miami Herald.  8 January 2015.  Web.  27 August 2015.

Keywords: medical marijuana lawyer, marijuana attorney, low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, complaint against physician, Florida law, health attorney, doctor defense attorney Department of Health, Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, disciplinary action for prescribing, medical marijuana regulations, prescribing controlled substances, physicians recommending marijuana, health regulation lawyer, medical license defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney, DEA defense lawyer, medical marijuana ordering physician, compassionate-use in Florida, physician certifications for medical marijuana, cannabis for treatment of debilitating medical condition

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

New Study Reveals Only One Long Term Effect From Smoking Marijuana

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

According to new research, long-term marijuana use may not be so bad for your health after all. A recent long-term study of nearly 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38 has found that people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years have more gum disease, but otherwise do not show worse physical health than non-smokers.

The researchers’ findings, published in the June issue of The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, found that among the 38-year-olds surveyed, 55.6% of people who had smoked marijuana regularly for 15 or 20 years had gum disease, while only 13.5% of the 38-year-olds who had never used marijuana and don’t smoke cigarettes had the same disease.

To draw their comparisons among the participants, researchers assessed physical health issues like lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic syndrome. They also study-controlled for factors like socioeconomic status as well as self-reported brushing and flossing habits, according to Live Science. Click here to read the article in full.

The Findings.

In general, the findings showed that cannabis use over 20 years was unrelated to health problems in early midlife. Across the several domains of health factored in, clear evidence of an adverse association with cannabis use was apparent for only one domain, namely, periodontal health. While cannabis users had poor periodontal health, in some cases they actually showed better health outcomes than non-smokers such as lower body mass indexes, smaller waists and better high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the good cholesterol. These results have led researchers to think that cannabis may have an impact on metabolism. Tobacco users in the study, were found to have gum disease as well as reduced lung function, systemic inflammation and indicators of poorer metabolic health.

“We can see the physical health effects of tobacco smoking in this study, but we don’t see similar effects for cannabis smoking,” Madeline Meier, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University and the lead author on the study, told Duke Today.

Study’s Authors Warn: These Results Don’t Give a Green Light to Smoke As Much As You Want.

While this study revealed that tobacco smokers may be worse off tobacco, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily smoke marijuana as much as you want. “We need to recognize that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study,” Avshalom Caspi, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and a coauthor on the study, said in a statement, according to Live Science.

To learn more about the effects and potential benefits of marijuana, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

More Medical Research Showing the Lack of Harm of Marijuana Use is Needed.

What this study shows is something that most of us who actually lived through the hippy movement of the Sixties already knew. Smoking marijuana is not harmful to you. Despite what marijuana opponents would like to be true, the evidence just does not support the harmfulness of marijuana. The problem is that with the lack of research studies because of federal restrictions, there is little published legitimate clinical research to actually prove the harmlessness of marijuana. This study goes far to show that fact. I would strongly encourage academic institutions to support such research and the federal government to stop its persecution of marijuana legalization and to support such research.

By comparison, those vices which are legal (alcohol and smoking be the two major ones), cause thousands of deaths each year and billions of dollars of loss to our economy, directly attributable to their use. Not so for marijuana! If we could take fifty percent of the alcohol abusers and convert them to using marijuana, instead, think of the savings on alcohol-related diseases, loss of income, domestic strife, the requirement for rehabilitation and treatment, and other such consequences. There are no known or reported cases of someone dying from a marijuana overdose. By comparison, how many thousands of U.S. citizens have died of alcohol overdoses?

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact the Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Berke, Jeremy. “A new study might have found one of the only long-term physical health risks linked to smoking marijuana.” Business Insider. (June 3, 2016). Web.

“Pot-Smokers Harm Gums; Other Physical Effects Slight.” Duke Today. (May 31, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Long-term effects of marijuana use, the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), recreational marijuana use, legal counsel for medical marijuana, marijuana defense attorney, associations between cannabis use and physical health problems, cannabis versus tobacco users, health lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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