Marijuana (or cannabis) remains a Schedule I drug—a drug with no currently accepted medical use and high potential for abuse—under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Under federal law, it is illegal to use or possess marijuana. Despite this fact, Florida voters passed a new Medical marijuana law, Amendment 2, on November 8, 2016. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2017. Florida joins 27 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam in allowing public medical marijuana programs. The new law will have far-reaching effects on the business community, real estate development, employment law, and others, but it is silent on many key issues that concern players in this field. This law supplements the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which remains in effect (source: highergrounds.ca).
The law is silent on direct rules and regulations. The Florida Department of Health is charged with promulgating rules and regulations and enforcing the law. It has six months, or until June 2017, to develop the rules and regulations.
Under the new law, only people with “debilitating medical conditions” can legally use medical marijuana. Those medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Epilepsy, and other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
Patients diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” hoping to legally use the drug must obtain a physician certification from a physician licensed in the state of Florida. The physician must conduct a physical examination of the patient and perform a full assessment of the patient’s medical history before prescribing medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, Dank Nation Dispensary and other dispensaries will have to wait until the Department of Health issues its rules and regulations before opening. It is also likely that local and city government bodies may enact codes and regulations which supplement the Department’s rules and regulations. So, it is advisable to wait and see what those rules and regulations will be. In the interim, entrepreneurs and investors may want to consult with an attorney to better understand the process, general requirements, and how other jurisdictions have approached this issue.
Medical Marijuana sales may be a complementary business with the technology of CO2 extraction and source of revenue for medical professionals, including doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses, and others with medical training, education, and experience. Since these professionals are already familiar with the Department of Health general rules and regulations, and already have gone through extensive background checks and have to go through reevaluation periodically to maintain their licenses, they are likely to be looked upon favorably by the Department of Health. Therefore, it is likely that the application process for them may be easier than others. Because of this possibility, we recommend that health care professionals get a head start on the process and begin educating themselves. Statistics sourced: https://www.altmedcaredocs.com/medical-marijuana-florida/
For further information, please call Tee Persad, Esq. at 407-647-7887 to set up a consultation.