Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law on June 24, 2017 officially making medical marijuana legal for patients with certain debilitating diseases. [1]

Ben Pollara, the executive director of Florida for Care, said:

“This is a good day for sick and suffering Floridians. The signing of this law provides a framework for the future of our state’s medical marijuana system and while it is far from perfect, it will begin providing access to patients.”

The legislation formalizes an amendment to the state constitution approved by 71% voters last fall that legalized medical marijuana, and establishes regulations for the new industry. [2]

Scott himself voted against the amendment and did not issue a statement upon signing the bill. He had earlier indicated that he would sign the legislation.

Under the bill, medical marijuana will be available with a doctor’s prescription to Florida residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or any other debilitating conditions.

In order to prescribe medical marijuana, doctors must first go through 2-hour training to become certified by the state. The state will set up a registry of eligible patients, which doctors must check before prescribing cannabis.

Seventeen growers have been licensed in Florida, and each license holder may have up to 25 dispensaries. The state will make another license available with each 100,000 new eligible patients added to the registry.

The bill also clears the way for 10 more medical marijuana treatment centers by October 3, 2017, which is the deadline for the rule to be enacted. There are already 7 treatment centers operating.

Medical marijuana products can be sold as edibles, vapes, sprays, and tinctures. Smoking marijuana is prohibited under the law. The law allows patients to receive an order of three 70-day supplies before having to be re-examined by a doctor.

The ban on smoking riles John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who financed the constitutional amendment’s campaign, and he has promised to sue. Tampa strip club magnate Joe Rednerk has also promised to sue, but over patients not being allowed to grow their own plants. [3]

Morgan said June 23:

“Great Scott, it’s a no-brainer. Gov. Scott wants to run for U.S. Senate. If he didn’t sign this bill, he couldn’t run for dog catcher. It’s not perfect. I’m going to sue for the smoking but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July.”

Sources:

[1] Associated Press

[2] Orlando Sentinel

[3] Miami Herald


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About Julie Fidler:
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.