Hazy Days Ahead? What We Don't Know About Florida's New Medical Marijuana Law – Above the Law
A great battle has been won in Florida for a more comprehensive medical marijuana program thanks to Florida voters overwhelmingly voting for Amendment 2. But the war still remains in that Amendment 2 is a very short piece of legislation that gives huge power to Florida’s Department of Health (DOH) to make rules for Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs). Amendment 2 simply states that DOH must come up with regulations for, among other things, “[p]rocedures for the registration of MMTCs that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure proper security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.” That’s it. After writing “Florida Legalizes Medical Marijuana, So Now What? Here’s the 4-1-1,” I’ve been getting many calls from Floridians who want a license to run an MMTC, but many questions remain about who can participate in Florida’s new medical cannabis industry and how participating businesses can be run and financed, because the Amendment is silent on these topics.
The only reference Florida has for previous DOH rule making on medical marijuana is its 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act (i.e., the “Charlotte’s Web law”), which has since been amended. Upon its passage by the legislature, that law contained way more detail than Amendment 2 on who could operate and own a Dispensing Organization, and it set forth qualification thresholds DOH could not change through rule making. The Charlotte’s Web “final” DOH rules can be found here, and you can read my firm’s analysis of DOH’s initial rules here.
Here is a run-down on some of what the Amendment does not cover and where DOH (and, more likely, the Office of Compassionate Use) will need to fill in the blanks for better or worse:
Existing Charlotte’s Web nurseries. Since Amendment 2 pretty much puts DOH in full charge of