Medical Marijuana – Latest Draft Regulations

by Akerman LLP

Below is a summary of the changes made by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to the draft rules to implement the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 (SB 1030).

1. Each "Applicant" must be an entity with at least 25% ownership by a nursery on the approved list.

2. Each nursery can only be part of one applicant.

3. Continues to allow many corporate structures to be applicants (for example: corporations, partnerships, individuals).

4. Only five dispensing organizations will be approved (limited by Statute) in different geographic regions. The regions remain the same as in the first draft.

5. The lottery system remains in place. Applicants submit their proposals to DOH. DOH will review and approve the applications. Then, if there are more than one application for each region, DOH will hold a lottery to determine who gets the license.

6. The application material is less stringent in this draft. The applicants must show proposed buildings, and locations for its facilities rather than demonstrate that the facilities are owned.

7. Defines "cultivation" as coming from only source plant material.

8. In the recordkeeping section, the draft eliminates the requirement to show where the plants originated (DOH is turning a blind eye to importation of plants).

9. Defines organic and requires that cultivation and processing of medical marijuana be organic.

10. Defines "edible food products" and asserts jurisdiction over them. Requires that edible food products be tested in state approved laboratories.

11. Defines a "permanent resident" and restricts patients to only permanent residents (required by the law).

12. Requires a financial statement from a CPA but drops the requirement of an audit.

13. Requires records be kept of the "price of products." This is in response to fears by patients' groups of price gouging.

14. Allows dispensing organizations to create transportation plans to allow deliveries of up to 30 days' supplies to registered patients.

15. Allows a dispensing organizations to "alter, expand, or consolidate their infrastructure, operations or staffing in order to better serve patients." A reasonable reading of this section would allow dispensing organizations to have multiple distribution sites. It is essential that this be confirmed at the August 1 workshop.

16. Allows dispensing organizations more flexibility in setting their hours of operation.

17. Each dispensing organization must employ a medical doctor. The doctor must be independent and have no ownership stake. The doctor will establish standards and protocols.

18. The dispensing organization must grow the plants indoors and prevent odor emissions and public views.

19. Applications must be submitted within 15 days of the date the rule is effective (up from 10 days). If chosen, the dispensing organization has 10 days to pay $150,000 fee and post a $5 million bond. The organization must begin cultivation within 75 days or begin dispensing product within 150 days.

20. Applicants must provide written documentation of expertise – experience, training and ability necessary to cultivate and process medical marijuana.

21. Increases restrictions on facilities – they must now be 1000 feet from schools, churches and public parks.


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.

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