flower is now available to medical marijuana patients in Florida. Learn all
about this new law, who qualifies, and other Sunshine State MMJ laws.
Florida has some of the most complicated marijuana laws in the country. Who is eligible, for what conditions, and how patients can get it raise a lot of questions about the plant and its uses. To add more confusion to the table, newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bill SB 182 into law in March of 2019, effectively allowing smokable flower to the list of consumption methods for medical marijuana patients.
Let’s take a closer look at the laws surrounding
Florida marijuana use and this new smokeable flower law to see how they
Florida has a Broad List of Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions
Prior to the passing of Amendment 2, which
expanded the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients, only low-THC
medical marijuana was permitted. After the passing of this amendment, the list
of conditions was expanded to include debilitating
conditions of the same kind or class.
This “same kind or class” language provides physicians some leniency in their recommendation of medical marijuana as it gives them the opportunity to exercise their medical judgement of a patients’ debilitating or chronic condition. This means that patients can qualify for medical marijuana in the State of Florida for conditions that were previously limited to only those listed.
Recreational Marijuana Usage is Still Illegal
The popularity of medical marijuana in the
state combined with the newly passed smokeable flower laws have created some
confusion surrounding the laws of marijuana and its uses. The legality of
recreational marijuana has remained unchanged – it is still illegal to possess,
sell, or traffic marijuana in Florida.
Only medically qualified patients are
eligible to purchase medical marijuana, and those authorized to use medical
marijuana are not permitted any non-medical use or possession.
To complicate things more, marijuana is
still considered a “Schedule I drug” by the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA), meaning it gets the same classification as heroin and ecstasy on a Federal
level. This scheduling also means the Federal government sees the drug as
having no accepted medical use, even though states and medical marijuana laws
directly contradict this.
So far, the federal government and states
have done well to confuse Floridians and other recreational and medical
marijuana users throughout the country. However, in the State of Florida where
medical marijuana is legal, it is important to know that you get legally get a
medical marijuana card, purchase medical marijuana through a licensed
dispensary, and remain free of any federal government backlash as long as you
use the drug in accordance with the laws.
One grey area is now smokeable medical
marijuana, as it has now been legalized for medical use but does come with some
Smokeable Flower in Florida
As mentioned, smokeable flower has been added to the list of appropriate delivery systems for medical marijuana, effectively joining oils, sprays, tinctures, and vapes. Patients can now get a maximum of six 35-day supplies if their qualifying physician approves it. This can add up to 2.5 ounces per 35-day supply, with a limit of 4 ounces at any given time.
There is a catch for smokable flower that
does not apply to the other delivery methods: the qualifying physician must
determine that smoking marijuana is the most appropriate route of
administration compared to the other routes. Additionally, the physician must
provide documentation on the other routes of administration, the length of time
they were used, evidence that supports smoking as the most effective route of
administration, and a signed statement opining that smoking medical marijuana
outweighs the risks.
In short, smokeable flower probably won’t
be an option that is recommended for most patients.
Florida Marijuana Laws Takeaways
As you can see, the laws surrounding marijuana in Florida are complex but are not impossible to navigate. Recreational use is still illegal, while medical use starts with a visit to a qualified medical marijuana physician who can determine if you are eligible. Smokeable flower is now available for patients, but the risks of smoking the product are greatly subject to interpretation of its benefits over other medical marijuana delivery systems.
This is a guest submission from Daniel Lofaso from THC Physicians.