On March 18, 2019, Florida Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 182 into law. Bill 182 allows a qualified physician to determine that smoking is an appropriate route of administration for medical marijuana. There are still a number of restrictions imposed on the possession and use of medical marijuana intended for smoking. For instance, medical marijuana may not be smoked in public or an indoor workplace; a private party may restrict or limit smoking or vaping medical marijuana on his or her private property, and patients under the age of 18 may not obtain a certification for marijuana for medical use by smoking unless the patient is diagnosed with a terminal condition and a second physician, who is a board-certified pediatrician, agrees with the determination.

Here’s how the process works: to qualify as a patient, an individual must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida, be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, and obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. Conditions which qualify for the prescription of Medical Marijuana include: Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those listed, a terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification, and Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition.

After diagnosing a patient with a qualifying medical condition, the physician will input the patient (and, if applicable, caregiver) information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. The patient and their caregiver must then apply for a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. After approval, the patient may fill the physician’s order at any approved Medical Marijuana Treatment Center or via delivery.

A qualified physician can order up to six 35-day supplies of medical marijuana in a form for smoking within each certification. A 35-day order may not exceed 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana in a form for smoking use. Qualified patients may only possess up to 4 ounces of medical marijuana in a form for smoking at any given time.

The Cannabis Law Practice Group at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C. consists of attorneys with the skills, experience, depth and flexibility needed to assist clients looking to capitalize on opportunities within the legal cannabis industry. Bressler’s expertise in a broad range of practice areas gives it the unique advantage of being able to provide its clients with full service legal counseling in a rapidly emerging industry faced with myriad challenges and complexities. Bressler professionals are available to discuss and assess the risks to your business, as well as potential solutions to make sure you are informed and prepared.

Disclaimer: Possessing, using, distributing and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law that may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances. Although federal enforcement policy may at times defer to states’ laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, interested businesses and individuals should be aware that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future.