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FLORIDA GOVERNOR REPEALS THE BAN ON SMOKING MARIJUANA

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Monday, March 18, 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation to repeal the ban on smoking marijuana. Governor DeSantis had given the legislature a deadline of March 15 to send a bill to his desk that would repeal that law. They returned that bill to him 2 days before his deadline.

“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016,” DeSantis said, “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”

The right to have smokable medical marijuana has been front and center on the minds of patients, cannabis educators, and physicians for the past two years as Florida has navigated the early days of the medical marijuana market.

The Florida vertical licenses have replied that they will comply with the law as soon as the state issues their recommendations. Some dispensaries say they will sell pre-rolls only, others say they will have flower available as soon as Wednesday, March 20. The approval must come from Tallahassee to the licenses before they can begin those sales.

The new law requires a patient to sign an informed consent that details the possible negative health risks associated with smoking marijuana. It also prohibits a physician from certifying a patient under 18 years old to smoke medical marijuana, unless the patient is diagnosed with a terminal condition, and they get a second opinion from their pediatrician.

Qualified patients can buy a 35-day supply at one time, which equates to 2.5 ounces. Other places in the bill it refers to being able to purchase up to a 70-day supply, but the limit is 4 ounces.

Little-publicized parts of this bill include:

  • The right to purchase devices to smoke marijuana is no longer limited to the dispensary.
  • Pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes may not use wrapping paper made from tobacco or hemp.
  • Flower did go on sale March 20.
  • Marijuana for smoking must be in a sealed receptacle with a large warning label to keep away from children AND a statement that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and may negatively affect your health.
  • Edibles cannot be more than 200mg THC, and each portion no more than 10 mg THC.
  • A provision that allows research done by both public and private universities in the state, through a consortium for medical marijuana clinical outcomes. That board is appointed by the president of the schools with the goal of conducting rigorous scientific research on medical marijuana.
  • It allows for the consortium to award funds to teaching nursing homes for research on the use of medical marijuana to alleviate conditions due to chronic disease and aging.

By August 1, 2019, the Department of Health will report to the board the following patient information: medical condition, daily dose amount, routes of administration, and forms of marijuana certified for that patient.

Regardless of what we have still to accomplish, we need to enjoy the victory of the day that our Governor stepped up to the plate for the patients of Florida and allowed us the right to have smokable medical marijuana.

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