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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, Rule 64ER19-7 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) requires MMTCs to ensure that all employees, owners, and managers of an MMTC pass a background screening check before being allowed to serve in such a role at the MMTC. The rule also includes extensive background and record-keeping requirements for MMTCs.

Under the rule, MMTCs have an ongoing obligation to report certain arrests of any employee, owner, or manager to DOH within 48 hours of becoming aware of the arrest. MMTCs failing to meet these requirements will be subject to discipline. Click here to view the rule in full.

Rule 64ER19-8–Renewal Applications for MMTCs.

The second rule, 64ER19-8, FAC, concerns renewal applications for MMTCs. Each MMTC is required to submit a renewal application, along with a renewal fee. Those initially licensed between July 31, 2017, and October 31, 2017, must submit a renewal application. The renewal application must be received no later than February 28, 2020. After submission of these applications, the renewals are then biennial.

All other MMTCs shall submit a renewal application biennially, which must be received by the DOH at least 30 days, but not more than 60 days before the license expires. Renewal applications that are not received by the DOH on or before the deadline will not be considered. It is crucial that all MMTCs be aware of these deadlines, calendar these deadlines and be sure there is an action taken on such renewals. Click here to view the rule in full.

For more information and to view the complete list of proposed rules and rule development, visit the Florida DOH website here.

To stay on top of medical marijuana legislation in Florida, read my prior blog here and be sure to visit our Marijuana Law Blog regularly.

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 help to complete and submit the applications for renewals, registration, permitting and/or licensing, complying with Florida law. We also represent health facilities, health clinics, and pharmacies 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:

Stanfield, Timothy. “Florida’s Department of Health/Office of Medical Marijuana Use Issues Emergency Rules and Notices of Rulemaking.” National Law Review. (January 8, 2020). Web.

Newlon, Amanda. “Client Alert: Florida Issues Emergency Rules and Notice of Rulemaking for MMTCs.” JD Supra. (January 22, 2020). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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“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 © 2020 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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 this created an “oligopoly” or a vertically integrated business model. By requiring treatment centers to also produce and distribute their products, the state has created a system that favors large businesses. The state law requires business entities desiring to participate in the retailing of medical marijuana to “conform to a more restricted definition” than what is set forth in the amendment, the majority said.

The court found “it is in the public interest” to require health officials to register medical marijuana operators “without applying the unconstitutional statutory provisions.” But that finding “does not support requiring the department to immediately begin registering” medical marijuana operators at this stage of the proceedings, the majority decided.

Click here to read the court’s opinion in full.

To read one of my prior blogs on the status of medical marijuana in Florida, 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:

Kam, Dara. “Medical marijuana: Florida law creates ‘oligopoly’ for pot businesses, court decides.” Orlando Sentinel. (July 10, 2019). Web.

Simpson, Dave. “Fla. Medical Marijuana Statute Deemed Unconstitutional.” Law360. (July 9, 2019). Web.

Gainey, Blaise. “Florida Courts Rule Medical Marijuana Scheme Unconstitutional. What’s Next?” WUSF. (July 11, 2019). Web.

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

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“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 © 2019 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.