During the recent election cycle, our team here at Medicine Man Technologies was happy to see the passing of a more effective law, expanding medical marijuana access in Florida. While Amendment 2 needed a 60% vote, its total was a little over 71%, which shows incredible progress for the state.
Previously, a similar amendment failed in 2014 with just 58% of the vote. While the state’s legislature authorized non-smoked medical marijuana later that year, there were flaws. It only gave access to low-THC cannabis (0.8% or less) with a greater concentration of cannabidiol, and it was limited to patients with epilepsy, chronic seizures or spasms, and cancer.
With Amendment 2, the law expanding medical marijuana access in Florida includes all patients with a physician’s certification that they suffer from one of the following debilitating medical conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Licensed physicians will also be able to recommend cannabis for patients suffering from ailments that are similar to the ones officially listed in the text of the new amendment. And for terminally ill patients, a new addition to the 2014 law will remain in place, allowing the use of full-strength medical marijuana.
With the new law expanding medical marijuana access in Florida, the state’s Department of Health will be in charge of regulating marijuana cultivation and treatment centers, including registration matters and standards for security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety. The Department will also be responsible for qualifying, registering and issuing ID cards to patients and their caregivers (who can buy marijuana on the behalf of a patient).
Now for a bit of bad news. The new medical marijuana law doesn’t go into effect until January 3, 2017, while regulations from Florida’s Department of Health have a deadline of June 2017 to be decided upon and implemented. And the required patient ID cards are to be issued no later than September 3, 2017.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done, and there will be a bit of a wait while all the details are worked out. It’s our hope that a 71% vote of the people will be enough to motivate those in charge to make this a priority. If anything, the amendment’s text does include the following statement:
If the department does not begin issuing identification cards within nine (9) months after the effective date of this section, then a valid physician certification will serve as a patient identification card in order to allow a person to become a “qualifying patient” until the Department begins issuing identification cards.
Here’s what else Amendment 2 has to say about expanding medical marijuana access in Florida:
- All forms of marijuana are allowed: flower, concentrates, edibles and tinctures.
- Growing marijuana at home is illegal, and so is recreational marijuana.
- It’s still illegal to operate any vehicle, aircraft, train or boat while under the influence.
- There’s no smoking marijuana in public areas, schools, or places of employment.
- Accommodations for medical marijuana use will not extend to any correctional institution or detention facility.
- Physician certification can be issued to a qualified minor patient with written consent from their legal guardian or parent.
With the passage of Amendment 2, Medicine Man Technologies will be keeping a close eye on how the state will be expanding medical marijuana access in Florida. It’s our hope that an estimated 500,000 or more patients will soon have access to the medicine they need.
We’ll also be discussing the election results and new marijuana laws in other states. So, stop by soon!