By 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 implement the will of the people. State lawmakers banned all smokable forms of the drug in a bill signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2017.
In January 2019, the newly-elected governor said the current law doesn’t represent the will of the voters. He said he would drop the appeal if lawmakers didn’t repeal the ban by mid-March of 2019. Click here to read my prior blog to learn more.
Details of the New Marijuana Legislation.
The new bill places several conditions for allowing smokeable medical marijuana. It allows qualifying patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis (the smokeable form) every 35 days as recommended by their physician. Patients would not be able to possess more than four ounces of marijuana in a smokable form.
It would not be available to anyone under the age of 18 unless the patient is terminally ill. Additionally, two doctors, one of them being a pediatrician, must give approval as the most effective form of treatment. Under the bill, a second opinion from a board-certified pediatrician would be required for all non-terminal patients under age 18.
Also, the new legislation states that it could not be smoked in public or at private businesses subject to Florida’s cigarette smoking ban. The bill gives private property owners the right to prohibit smokeable marijuana if they choose.
Medical Marijuana Research and Education Board.
In addition to repealing the “smoking ban,” the bill also establishes Florida’s Medical Marijuana Research and Education Board. The board will oversee a research consortium established by the state university system’s Board of Governors. With the new legislation, the Board will receive $1.5 million for the program. Instead of only including the University of Florida as the previous law did, all universities can apply to participate in the Research and Education Board.
The new legislation only addressed the ban on smoking medical marijuana and didn’t address other issues that Gov. DeSantis has brought up. The new Florida Governor has been at the forefront of several high profile topics since taking office, such as drug-free workplace protections and caps on the number of medical marijuana licenses and dispensaries. Click here to learn more.
Be sure to check our Marijuana Law Blog regularly to stay on top of news and regulations that may affect you!
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.
Gross, Samantha. “In landslide vote, Florida House agrees to end ban on smoking medical marijuana.” Miami Herald. (March 14, 2019). Web.
Farrington, Brenden. “Florida passes bill to repeal smokable medical marijuana ban.” AP News. (March 13, 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 the 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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