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On November 8, 2016, 71% of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which expanded the state’s existing limited medical cannabis law. The amendment went into effect on January 3,2017.
Amendment 2 increases the number of conditions, and thereby patients, that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana. It also allows the use of high-THC marijuana, which was previously limited to terminally ill patients only.
Prior Florida law restricts the forms of medical marijuana that can be dispensed to oils, tinctures, or capsules and explicitly prohibits smoking medical cannabis. Amendment 2 doesn’t specifically address this, so it is not yet clear whether it will allow medical marijuana to be smoked. However, other forms of cannabis may be tested and allowed under Amendment 2, such as food or aerosols.
Under Amendment 2, physicians must complete an 8-hour training course administered by the Florida Medical Association to become certified to recommend medical marijuana, and patients must obtain a valid state-issued medical marijuana ID card.
In addition, Amendment 2 allows caregivers to assist loved ones in the medical use of marijuana, and it protects qualifying patients, caregivers, physicians, and medical marijuana dispensaries and their staff from criminal prosecutions or civil sanctions under Florida law (but not under federal law).
On June 9, 2017, during a special session, the Florida Legislature passed SB 8A and SB 6A, implementing Article X, section 29 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Governor Rick Scott is expected to sign both bills into law and new laws will become effective immediately upon signature.
The following are among the key provisions in Florida’s new medical marijuana use law:
- Qualifying Medical Conditions. To qualify for medical marijuana, a patient must be certified by a licensed Florida physician as having at least one of the following qualifying conditions:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- A condition of the “same kind or class” (though the precise meaning of this phrase is not further defined)
- Patients also qualify if they have chronic pain related to a qualifying condition or are terminally ill