Florida Medical Marijuana Laws – 2019/2020 Legislation
As 2019 draws to a close, we are looking back at the state of the cannabis industry in Florida, and the new legal action which took place this year which may affect you as a patient. We are also looking forward to continued constitutional amendments and modifications in 2020, which will better reflect the medical needs of Florida residents. Changes are designed to further the adoption of cannabis as not only a viable option, but a preferred and accessible medical treatment.
Legacy Florida Medical Marijuana Laws
The current law in the state of Florida states that any individual can enroll as a medical marijuana patient as long as his doctor will certify one or more qualifying conditions. Patients are legally permitted to purchase marijuana from registered dispensaries or treatment centers. (MMTCs)
Qualifying conditions currently include those mentioned below, however a licensed physician has the discretion to recommend medical cannabis for other conditions at their discretion.
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Pain .
Florida Law Effective in 2019
In 2019, there were encouraging signs that the state is coming into alignment with the medical cannabis needs of Florida patients, including the appointment of the state’s first cannabis czar and the reversal of a 2017 court decision limiting registered dispensaries. There was also a major provision on the docket in 2019 which amended relevant law, as follows:
Repeal of the Smoking Ban: With the passage of SB 182 in March of 2019, Governor DeSantis reversed the ban on smoking cannabis. This repeal gives medical doctors and their patients greater flexibility and more options regarding the administration of the treatment.
Specifically, SB 182 permits patients to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days. A motion also vacated court cases regarding the constitutionality of the prior smoking ban.
This law also includes a protection regarding patients under the age of 18. Minors must be suffering from a terminal condition, and have a secondary recommendation from a pediatrician in order to smoke cannabis.
What to Look for in 2020: Medical Marijuana Laws
Supporters are looking to add the Florida Medical Marijuana Plants Initiative to the November 2020 ballot. The proposed changes to Article 2 would permit qualifying medical marijuana patients (or their caregivers) to grow their own marijuana plants for medical purposes. The bill proposes the ability to legally grow up to nine mature flowering plants, and having the plants and harvested product in their possession.
If approved by the voters, the measure will also clarify the definition of a marijuana plant, as follows:
A “marijuana plant” means a plant, including but not limited to a seedling or cutting. To determine if a piece or part of a marijuana plant severed from the marijuana plant is itself a marijuana plant, the severed piece or part must have some readily observable evidence of root formation, such as root hairs. Callous tissue is not readily observable evidence of root formation.
The initiative was approved for circulation in June of 2018, and must submit 766, 200 valid and verified signatures by February 1, 2020 to be on the November ballot.
The medical marijuana laws in Florida are continuing to evolve and change as they mature. If you have questions regarding your qualification as a medical cannabis patient, call the Neurology of Cannabis offices in Sarasota, or ask your medical doctor about a referral to Dr. Stein. We are here to help you to understand your medical options, and are committed to providing relief for your condition through safe and effective cannabis use.