More than 71 percent of Florida voters approved the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, in November of 2016.
During a special legislative session in June 2017 Senate Bill 8A, the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, was passed to implement rules for making medical marijuana available to Floridians. The Florida Department of Health established the Office of Medical Marijuana Use to implement these rules and the Compassionate Use Registry was changed to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.
Amendment 2 along with the expanded qualifying medical conditions, became effective on January 3, 2017. Florida Statute Section 381.986 (F.S.) is in effect and the Florida Department of Health, Physicians, Dispensaries and Patients are all bound by the existing law and rule. Florida Department of Health has pledged to quickly move through the rule making process to create a regulatory structure for Amendment 2.
As with all Florida law and regulation, it is the responsibility of the qualified ordering physician to follow Florida constitution and statute, diagnose patients and determine if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment. A patient qualified to receive medical marijuana must be
a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida;
entered in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a Qualified Physician; and
diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
Section 381.986, F.S. permits qualified physicians to order low-THC cannabis for eligible patients suffering from (1) cancer or (2) a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, to alleviate symptoms of such disease, disorder, or condition, if no other satisfactory alternative treatment options exist for the qualified patient. The statute also allows a qualified physician to order medical cannabis for an eligible patient with a terminal condition that is attested to by the patient’s physician and confirmed by a second independent evaluation by a board-certified physician in an appropriate specialty for that condition.
Florida law defines a terminal condition as a “progressive disease or medical or surgical condition that causes significant functional impairment, is not considered by a treating physician to be reversible even with the administration of available treatment options currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and, without the administration of life-sustaining procedures, will result in death within one year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course.”
The medical use of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis does NOT include the transfer of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis to a person other than the qualified patient for whom it was ordered or their legal representative.