Governor Rick Scott signed Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 (Chapter 381.986, Florida Statutes) into law on June 16, 2014. The Act authorized specified physicians to order low-THC cannabis for qualified patients beginning on January 1, 2015. A participating Florida Marijuana Doctor must be licensed under Chapter 458 and 459 of the Florida Statutes, attend an 8-hour training course, and pass an examination before they can order low-THC cannabis for a patient. Under Florida law, low-THC cannabis is defined as a product or derivative of cannabis which contains 0.8% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10% cannabidiol (CBD). The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act is limited in the specific conditions that can be treated with low-TCH cannabis and does not allow for the smoking of cannabis. Rather, it allows qualified patients to ingest cannabis via other methods, such as extracts or a physician-prescribed vaporizer.
FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATISTICS AND FACTS
- Florida currently has 17 medical marijuana dispensaries that are approved by the Department of Health.
- Florida law allows caregivers to operate on a patient’s behalf. Caregivers must be a “healthcare surrogate acting pursuant to the qualifying patient’s written consent” and must register with the Florida Department of Health. The name of the patient they are assisting must be listed on their caregiver ID card.
- According to ArcView Group, a California-based cannabis research and investment firm, by 2020 medical marijuana could be a $1.5 billion industry in Florida and represent a 7% share of the total U.S. legal cannabis market.
- Before being licensed to grow, process, and dispense medical cannabis in Florida, a dispensary must show that they have been a plant nursery for at least 30 years and have grown at least 400,000 plants.
- Florida employers cannot deny you a job because you are registered with the Compassionate Use Registry.
- Beginning in June 2015, several Florida cities and counties began passing ordinances allowing for civil rather than criminal penalties for minor marijuana offenses. Most of these ordinances impose a $100 fine for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
On March 25, 2016 Governor Scott signed HB 307, which expanded the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act to allow for terminally ill patients (defined as expected to die within a year without life-sustaining procedures) to ingest all forms of medical cannabis. HB 307 also added the requirement that medical cannabis users register with the Florida Department of Health’s Compassionate Use Registry and obtain a medical cannabis ID card. Florida’s first low-THC cannabis dispensary opened in Tallahassee on July 26, 2016.
On November 08, 2016 Florida voters will decide whether or not to pass Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which would allow for greater use of medical marijuana within the state. Amendment 2 was placed on the ballot by United for Care, a group that placed a similar failed measure (also called Amendment 2) on the 2014 ballot. Under the California Constitution, in order for Amendment 2 to become law it must be approved by at least 60% of Florida voters.
AMENDMENT 2 ON THE NOVEMBER 08, 2016 BALLOT IN FLORIDA
On November 08, 2016 Florida voters will decide whether or not to pass Amendment 2, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Amendment 2 was placed on the ballot when United for Care submitted 716,270 valid signatures of Florida voters, exceeding the “683,149” required to place an initiative on the ballot. If approved by at least 60% of voters, the initiative would greatly expand Florida’s medical marijuana laws. Specifically, Amendment 2 would allow medical marijuana as a treatment for the following conditions:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
- any other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated