After Special Session Cliffhanger: Florida Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Implementation Bill

by Akerman LLP
Contact

Akerman LLP

Florida lawmakers have finally passed legislation to implement Amendment 2, Florida’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment. The breakthrough came during the last afternoon of a three-day special session called after legislators were unable to reach a consensus on the rules for the program during the regular session.

Although the Amendment was immensely popular at the ballot box, receiving over 6.5 million votes (71%) in November 2016, its implementation was largely stalled as the Legislature and Department of Health considered how to implement its broadly written provisions.

The new legislation, which Governor Rick Scott has been quoted as stating he will “absolutely” sign into law, is far from perfect yet still reflects a massive step for medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. Highlighted below are some of the significant aspects of the legislation.

Canna-Businesses

Vertical integration continues but more licenses are on the way.

  • The bill directs the Department of Health to issue 10 additional licenses to operate full-service marijuana businesses that cultivate, process and dispense the product in the state. Of these 10 new licenses, several are allocated to nurseries that unsuccessfully applied for licenses two years ago under Florida’s earlier (and much more limited) low-THC medical marijuana program. Another one of the licenses is allocated to a qualified member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association-Florida Chapter. The remaining licenses will be issued by the Department of Health with preference given to up to two applicants that either are or were involved in Florida’s citrus industry.
  • After the first 10 additional licenses are issued, the Department of Health will issue four more licenses each time an additional 100,000 active patients are added to the medical marijuana patient registry.
  • The bill stipulates that each license holder may operate a maximum of 25 dispensing facilities throughout the state until 100,000 active patients are added to the registry. At that point, licensees will be allowed to open an additional five dispensing locations. Thereafter, each time an additional 100,000 active patients are added to the registry, licensees will be allowed to open five more dispensing locations, subject to a maximum number of locations per region based on population. The bill also allows licensees to sell unused dispensary “slots” to other licensees in the event that they do not wish to open as many locations as authorized.

Product quality control and tracking is mandatory.

  • The bill requires licensees to implement seed-to-sale tracking for all product.
  • Licensees are required to have all processed marijuana tested for potency and contaminants by an independent laboratory prior to dispensing.

Patients and Doctors

No more 90-day waiting period for patient certifications.

  • The bill eliminates the former requirement that there be a 90-day doctor/patient relationship prior to the issuance of a medical marijuana certification to a patient.

Shorter (and less expensive) course required for physicians.

  • The bill stipulates that physicians must complete a two-hour course administered by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association prior to issuing patient certifications, while the prior program mandated an 8-hour course.

Other interesting provisions include:

  • No smoking: The bill bans the smoking of medical marijuana. Instead, patients may either vape, ingest marijuana infused edibles or capsules, or apply topical preparations.
  • Minors: The certification of two doctors is required in order for medical marijuana to be dispensed to a minor.
  • Pregnant women: The bill prohibits pregnant women from obtaining medical marijuana except for the low-THC variety.
  • Ownership interests: The bill prohibits doctors that certify medical marijuana from having financial interests in licensees or testing labs.
  • Chronic pain: In addition to the “debilitating diseases” enumerated in the Amendment and debilitating conditions of “the same kind or class” specified in the Amendment, the bill provides that patients may receive medical marijuana if they have chronic pain related to any of the named diseases or are terminally ill.
  • No sales tax: The bill provides that medical marijuana is not subject to Florida sales tax, similar to other medicine.
  • Quantity limits: The bill allows patients to obtain a physician certification for a 70-day supply, along with two refills, before having to return for another visit.
  • Medical research funding: For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the bill allocates $750,000 in state funds to the Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute to conduct medical cannabis research.

These are just a sample of some of the provisions in the new legislation. As implementation begins, it is expected that certain interests will file litigation seeking to challenge some of the provisions identified above. Importantly, it is not expected that these challenges will further delay implementation of the program as these matters wind their way through the courts.

As always, the Akerman’s Regulated Substances Practice will be closely monitoring these and other related developments at the federal, state, and local level.



 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Akerman LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Akerman LLP
Contact
more
less

Akerman LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.