New Medical Marijuana Rules Signed Into Law This March Gives Patients More Options
On March 18th, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 182 into law. This bill gives patients new options for consuming medical marijuana in the State of Florida. With a physician’s approval, it is now legal to smoke medical marijuana as a method of treatment.
There was push-back against this method of consuming marijuana due to the hazards of smoking any substance and long-standing prejudices against this method of use, but this bill now makes it legal. However, there are some limitations that the public needs to be aware of.
First, those who wish to smoke have to be informed of the dangers of smoking and sign an informed consent form that details the risks. This form has not been finalized yet, but there will be a discussion about the form by the Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana on April 4th. Draft versions of this form will be acceptable, so you do not need to wait until this date before asking your physician about obtaining smokeable marijuana.
Second, your qualifying physician has to send documentation to the board explaining why they are allowing smoking as an option. This requirement is waived if the patient has a terminal condition. Details on this process will also be hammered out during the meeting on April 4th.
Third, there are limits to how much smokeable marijuana a patient can order at a time and how much they can possess. These are different than the limits given for other forms of medical marijuana in Florida. These limits are:
* 35-day supply only, with a maximum amount of 2.5 ounces per period.
* The total limit of possession by a patient or caregiver is 4 ounces.
* The certification is good for up to six 35-day supply limits.
This means that patients and caregivers will have to pay close attention to how much smokeable marijuana is left over from each supply run to ensure they don’t go over the possession limit. Patients, caregivers, and doctors will have to work together to ensure that they stay in compliance.
Fourth, before a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center can sell smokeable marijuana they will have to apply for a variance and get it approved. This means that if you get approved for smokeable medical marijuana you may have to go to a different MMTC to get your medicine, at least for the near future.
Fifth, if you already have a medical marijuana certification, this does NOT mean that you can switch to smokeable marijuana. You will need to go back to your qualifying physician and get approval for it. After the approval, you’ll need to wait a week so your doctor can update the certification before you can get smokeable marijuana. You will be able to continue to get your previous medication in the meantime.
Finally, another part of the new law allows smoking marijuana by patients under 18 if they have a terminal condition. Two separate physicians must approve this and it must be recorded in the patient’s medical record. Please note that our practice does not see minors.
Those who would like more information about the new law, please visit flhealthsource.gov/mum