The Florida Legislature finally has approved Amendment 2, a bill establishing the framework for the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana business. The amendment, which
was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in November, states that laws must be in place by July 3 and enacted three months later.
So it’s official. You are excited right? You think you are in the next Colorado or California? You’re gonna get a job as a “trimmer”. Life is just gonna be one big Phish concert! Not, exactly…Here is a rundown on why your “pot boner” is a bit premature. Sorry brah!!
What Conditions Are Covered?
Major health conditions are covered. Epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions, HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and similar conditions make the list. More than likely, you don’t have one of these problems!
Who’s Allowed to Be Covered?
All Patients and caregivers involved must be 21 years old and over. If the patient is a minor, the caregiver must be certified. Both must also receive an ID card. Advocates want to see caregivers not fall subject to penalty, in the event they have to administer marijuana in the case of an emergency.
No No No Smoking
Now this one is a doozy!! Smoking medical marijuana remains PROHIBITED despite the public’s demands. Attorney John Morgan, the force behind getting the amendment on the ballot in the first place, said the only place where smoking is banned is in public places and he intends to sue to change this.
What Types of Products?
Other than vaping, medical marijuana products can be sold as edibles. It just must qualify as a food product and can not market or appeal to kids, oils, sprays or tinctures. Vaping cartridges, especially whole-flower products, must be in tamper-proof containers.
How Often Can I Re-Up?
Patients will receive an order for three 70-day supplies before having to visit a doctor again to get re-examined. A doc must recertify the patient at least once every 30 weeks instead of once every 90 days. So that is at least good news.
No Waiting Period
The requirement that a patient be in the care of a certified doctor for 90 days has been removed! The waiting period, which was a part of the last two bills signed by Gov. Rick Scott, came under more scrutiny when cannabis was extended last year to terminal patients. Also, the certification course for doctors has been reduced from eight hours to two.
Snowbirds Are Totally Welcome
Seasonal residents aka “snowbirds” – those who reside in Florida at least 31 straight days each year, maintain temporary residence and are registered to vote or pay income tax in another state– are eligible to receive medical marijuana.
More Treatment Centers are Coming
There will be ten additional medical marijuana treatment centers by October. Five to be awarded by August 1 to nurseries that were narrowly defeated when the original distributors were selected in December 2015. Of the other five to be awarded by October, one will go to a group of black farmers with citrus growers given preference to two others. By the end of the year there could be as many as 19 treatment centers! So it is growing fast.
New License Requirements Relaxed
Instead of a nursery needing to be in business for 30 years, any Florida business that has been operating five or more years and has a medical director on staff can file an application.
There is a cap of 25 retail facilities per medical marijuana treatment center but it allows for four more shops per 100,000 patients with that cap subject to expire in 2020. Four more centers will be licensed per 100,000 patients. The state forecasts 472,000 patients in five years.