At the urging of attorney John Morgan, the largest donor for medical marijuana (MMJ) in Florida, Governor Scott convened a special legislative session this month. By a vote of 29-6 in the Senate and 103-9 in the House, the following guidelines for MMJ passed and now await Governor Scott’s signature. Governor Scott is expected to sign the bill ASAP.
Patients: will be able to obtain a 70 day supply with two refills before having to return to the doctor; no smoking will be allowed; to qualify patients must suffer from a serious disease such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS or suffer from chronic pain as a result of one of those diseases; the list of diseases that qualify is still somewhat murky and clarification will be needed; patients can now also receive a medical marijuana recommendation from their doctor right away versus three months.
Doctors: to recommend MMJ, must complete a two hour course (cost of $500) administered; doctor must diagnose patient with the disease in person (no remote diagnoses); two doctors must recommend use of MMJ for a minor; and must check state registry to be sure patient is on it.
Caregivers: those administering MMJ to patients must be FL residents, 21 years or older, and not a doctor; they must pass a background check and complete a training course (cost of $100); patient may only have one caregiver; and caregiver cannot be paid for their work (legislature wanted to prevent development of caregiver industry).
Growers: approved for 10 more licensed MMJ growers/dispensers to the already existing 7 (by October 2017); will still have to go through application process with health dept; for every 100,000 patients added to the registry an additional 4 licenses will be issued; each license holder can open up to 25 dispensaries across the state; must track product from seed to sale and will be tested by independent lab for THC levels to make sure it’s safe.
Research: $750,000 to be given to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and creates coalition for medicinal cannabis research and education at the cancer center.