Updated on December 8, 2017.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
It’s one of the most unfortunate Florida medical marijuana facts that it took the state so long to finally allow seriously ill patients access to cannabis. However, in 2016 voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that greatly expanded the previous law, which limited access only to patients suffering from epileptic seizures.
Patients with HIV, glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, chronic nonmalignant pain, multiple sclerosis, terminal illness and many other conditions can now obtain marijuana, as long as they have a doctor’s certification as well as a valid identification card.
Medical Marijuana Facts for Florida
- Voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment to expand the state’s medical marijuana laws, with more than 70 percent voting for the change.
- As in many states, however, Florida officials had to scramble in order to implement the change. A large part of the confusion centered around deciding how to revise regulations governing dispensing laws.
- Another obstacle to implementation was the opposition of several cities and counties throughout Florida. Many of their elected officials voiced concerns about medical weed dispensaries appearing in school and commercial zones.
- Hillsborough County banned implementation of the amendment until April 2017, while Manatee and Pasco Counties proposed bans as well as of February 2017.
- Officials in Panama City Beach called for a total ban on the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana for eight months, stating they needed more time to study the issue.
- The Florida Department of Health issued draft rules to govern medical marijuana use before implementation of the amendment, which was scheduled for September 2017. The Department ruled that the state’s existing medical marijuana laws would expand to include all conditions covered by the amendment. However, existing laws only allow patients access to cannabidiol oil. The intent of the amendment was to allow patients to use all forms of medical marijuana, including smoking and ingesting.
- The Department proposed the Florida Board of Medicine be ultimately responsible for determining what conditions can be treated with medical marijuana. One of the most disheartening medical marijuana facts for Florida residents is that the department appears to be acting in direct opposition to the wishes of voters.
- Despite the fact that nearly twenty states and the District of Columbia (our nation’s capital) allow for the medicinal use of cannabis and despite the fact that over a third of the country live in jurisdictions with compassionate cannabis laws, the state of Florida’s Legislature has refused to even discuss the matter for several years. This is one of the most disturbing medical marijuana facts for Florida cannabis advocates to accept, but fortunately, the tide ultimately turned.
- Three thousand registered Florida voters were contacted in early August in regards to a poll that asked the question: “Constitutional amendment that would allow the use of marijuana for treatment of debilitating medical conditions if authorized by a doctor,” 73.5 percent of voters supposed the cause. 58.8 percent of the voters that were polled firmly believe that “marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol and be made legal for any adult to use.”
- In 2013, legislation was filed by Senator Jeff Clemens, a Democrat out of Lake Worth and Representative Katie Edwards, a Democrat out of District 98. This legislation would have been responsible for exempting seriously ill Florida residents from any criminal penalties for using marijuana with a doctor’s written recommendation.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we want to make sure all of our readers stay well informed regarding marijuana facts for Florida and all other states. Check back often for updates as developments warrant.