Medical Marijuana Considered ‘Essential’ Amid Coronavirus Shutdowns

Attorney George F. IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On March 17, 2020, amid Coronavirus shutdowns, multiple cities and state health departments have declared medical marijuana dispensaries essential to health care. Many cities are closing or considering closing business and retail operations to stop the spread of the virus. Other “essential” businesses that will remain open include pharmacies, grocery stores, and financial institutions.
As of this date (3/23/2020), Florida still has not joined the ones declaring them to be essential.


“Essential Medicine”

After residents were told to stay home, a number of cities revised their position in other states and deemed cannabis “an essential medicine,” allowing stores to stay open.

San Fransico’s Mayor London Breed announced adjustments to the city’s public health order clarifying that dispensaries and marijuana deliveries are critical. “In terms of the […]

Florida DOH Issues Emergency Rules for Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers

George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Effective December 10, 2019, emergency rules for the regulation of medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) were issued by the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Also issued were notices of proposed rules to provide further regulation for background screening and renewal applications.

Emergency Rules.

In Florida, emergency rules may be adopted if an administrative agency finds there is an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare. Such rules are effective for 90 days while an agency undertakes the formal rulemaking process. Agency rulemaking is subject to challenge under Florida’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which allows those who have a substantial interest in the prosed rules to challenge them. This means implementation could be delayed.

Rule 64ER19-7, Florida Administrative Code–Background Screenings for MMTCs.

The new Florida administrative rule, […]

Judge Says New Mexico School Didn’t Discriminate by Prohibiting Medical Marijuana Treatment on Campus

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

On August 9, 2019, a judge dismissed the claims of parents who said a New Mexico public school discriminated against their epileptic daughter by prohibiting her from using medical marijuana on school grounds. The judge granted a motion to dismiss, stating that the parents did not adequately prove their claims.

The Argument of Administering Medical Marijuana on School Grounds.

According to the order, the girl suffers from life-threatening seizures as a result of Dravet syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy. The parents claim that giving her marijuana daily and at the onset of seizures has significantly reduced their frequency and length.

Additionally, the Department of Health designated the girl as a patient qualified for receiving medical marijuana from her mother under […]

Florida Appeals Court Says Medical Marijuana Statute Unconstitutional

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

On July 9, 2019, a Florida appellate court ruled that the Florida Legislature’s approach to regulating medical marijuana is unconstitutional. If the ruling stands, it would require state health officials to begin registering medical-marijuana firms to do business and lift existing caps on how many medical marijuana treatment centers can operate in Florida.

Changes to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legislation.

The First District Court of Appeal said on July 9, 2019, that the Florida Legislature’s law conflicts with the amendment to the Florida Constitution, specifically, the portion that defines a medical marijuana treatment center or MMTC. Florida’s current amendment requires MMTC’s to grow, process and distribute cannabis and all related products.

The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that […]

Florida House Passes Bill to End the Smoking Ban on Medical Marijuana

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

On March 13, 2019, two days before Gov. DeSantis’ deadline to end Florida’s smoking ban on medical marijuana, the House finally passed the legislation.  Florida lawmakers affirmed the right of patients to smoke medical marijuana. The vote was 101 to 11 in favor of revoking the ban. The House approved a Senate bill to include “smoking” in the language. The bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by a licensed physician.


“Smoking” Medical Marijuana

Florida voters originally approved medical marijuana in an amendment to the Florida Constitution in 2016.  However, state bureaucrats and legislators have done everything they could to not implement the will of the people.  State lawmakers banned all smokable forms of the drug in […]

Court Says Walmart’s Firing Violated Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law

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

On March 22, 2019, the U.S. District Court in Arizona granted summary judgment on anti-discrimination claims in favor of the plaintiff former employee and against Walmart under Arizona’s medical marijuana statute. The plaintiff, a former employee of Walmart, had been terminated after allegedly testing positive for marijuana.

This case is significant because as more states are adopting medical marijuana laws, this represents the growing risks to employers who engage in adverse employment actions against medical marijuana users. Furthermore, since the decision was in federal court, it is even more significant. In this case, Arizona employers gained some much needed guidance for navigating Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

The court held that individuals with medical marijuana cards can […]

Florida Governor Officially Legalizes Smoking Medical Marijuana

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

On March 18, 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis officially signed a bill into law allowing the use of smokable medical marijuana by eligible patients. The governor’s signature on legislative bill SB 182, “Medical Use of Marijuana,” was the first he has approved since taking office in January 2019 and was a top priority for the newly elected governor. Additionally, he filed a joint motion to dismiss People United for Medical Marijuana v. Department of Health, a case in which the Florida Department of Health (DOH) was arguing that smoking medical marijuana was not allowed. The action ends the litigation in which a state court judge had already ruled that a prior state law ban on […]

Florida House Passes Bill to Allow Smoking Medical Marijuana

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

On March 13, 2019, two days before Gov. DeSantis’ deadline to pass a bill repealing Florida’s ban on smoking medical marijuana, the House finally passed the legislation. Florida lawmakers affirmed the right of patients to smoke medical marijuana. The vote was 101 to 11 in favor of revoking the ban. The House approved a Senate bill to include “smoking” in the language. The bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by a licensed physician.


“Smoking” Medical Marijuana.

Florida voters originally approved medical marijuana in an amendment to the florida Constitution in 2016. However, state bureaucrats and legislators have done everything they could to not […]

Florida DOH Challenges Ruling to Eliminate Cap on Medical Pot Dispensaries

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

On February 15, 2019, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) appealed a circuit judge’s ruling on a law that capped the number of medical marijuana licenses and dispensaries in the state. Attorneys for the DOH filed a notice that said they were challenging a February 2019, ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. This action seems somewhat hypocritical, given Governor DeSantis’s recent statements. After all, he appoints the Florida Surgeon General, who is also the head of the Florida Department of Health.

Her Prior Ruling.

Judge Gievers struck down Florida’s medical marijuana dispensary cap and sided with the medical marijuana operator Trulieve. She found that the limit on dispensaries […]

Federal Court in Connecticut Rules Workers Can’t Be Denied Jobs for Medical Marijuana Use

George Indest Headshot

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

On December 7, 2018, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled that a nursing home violated an anti-discrimination provision of the state’s medical marijuana law when it rescinded an employee’s job offer. It’s the latest in a series of similar clashes between federal and state laws around the country that came out in favor of medical marijuana users trying to keep or obtain jobs with drug-testing employers. The ruling provided clarification on medical marijuana use under the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA).
Advocates hope the new decisions are a sign of growing acceptance of marijuana’s medicinal value.

Background of the Case.

The plaintiff was a healthcare worker who was diagnosed with […]

Go to Top