Florida Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The Florida medical marijuana industry received its guidelines with the passage of a bill out of the Florida Legislature on the last day of a three-day special session.

The votes were 29-6 in the Senate and 103-9 in the House. The few no votes were mostly Democrats who wanted fewer restrictions in the bill, but also a few Republicans who remain against the idea of medical marijuana on principle.

Gov. Rick Scott said he “absolutely” will sign the bill. That means changes are coming for patients, caregivers, doctors and growers, compared with the far more limited medical marijuana law passed by the Legislature in 2014, which resulted in seven grower/dispensers in the state.

For patients:

The ban on smoking marijuana remains in the bill, although proposed bans on vaping and edibles that were brought up during the regular session are out. The smoking ban may resiult in a lawsuit because the constitutional amendment voters approved in November bans smoking in public. A strong advocate, John Morgan has made mention that he strongly believed people had the right to choose for themselves.

Patients will be able to get a 70 day supply of medical marijuana, with two refills before having to go back to a doctor.

To qualify for medical marijuana, patients must have cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or a condition of the “same kind or class,” though what precisely that means is uncertain. Patients can also qualify if they have chronic pain related to one of the named diseases or are terminally ill.

The 90 day waiting period is out the window. Patients can receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor right away.

Purchases of medical marijuana will be sales-tax free.

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