4 January 2017
Weed News Reports
So, here’s three important things to know with Florida’s medical cannabis law:
- The legal language of Amendment 2 was written to explicitly allow medical marijuana to be provided as a treatment for patients with the following specific diseases:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
Amendment 2 was also designed to allow licensed physicians to certify patients for medical cannabis use after diagnosing them with some “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.”
- Only certain doctors who’ve gone through training can approve the drug for you. An entire list is on the Florida Department of Health’s website with all of their information. Once again, your primary care physician cannot approve it if they do not have a specific license. Also, the doctor can only order medical cannabis if they’ve treated you for at least 90 days.
- You have to first look into all other treatments for your condition before applying for medical cannabis and get a second opinion from another physician.
According to the Florida Department of Health, 340 physicians are registered. There are currently 1,495 patients in the state registry but that number will steadily increase. Six of the seven licensed organizations have received authorization to distribute medical cannabis. At least one more additional license will likely be granted after a recent settlement between the Department of Health and two Southwest Florida nurseries. Once the patient registry reaches 250,000 then an additional three licenses will be made available.
Although the 2014 measure and the 2016 measure were both designed to legalize medical cannabis, there were some differences between the two proposals. The 2016 measure clarified requirements for parental consent for the use of medical cannabis by minors and also further defined what is meant by “debilitating” illnesses that would qualify for cannabis as a treatment option. The 2016 measure also addressed concerns regarding caregivers by making it clear that doctors would not be immune from malpractice claims for negligent prescribing of cannabis and by limiting how many patients a caregiver can treat with cannabis.
Despite the passage of Amendment 2, there’s a growing number of moratoriums for medical cannabis dispensaries in cities and villages across Florida, including Sarasota and Estero. Both Pasco and Manatee Counties have requested bans on medical cannabis in their communities, according to Sunshine State News. Local leaders are implementing a “wait-and-see” approach as the state Department of Health, and lawmakers in Tallahassee, grapple with the rules and laws that will ultimately govern a statewide system of legal medical cannabis harvesting, licensing, selling, and more.