Amendment 2: How Will It Change Florida's Medical Marijuana Laws?
Posted on October 31, 2016 by Jeffrey FeilerBallot language can be extremely confusing to read. As your local Miami medical marijuana attorney, I'd like to give you some insight on exactly what rules you would be passing for the state of Florida, and why you should vote Yes on the ballot if you want to see medical marijuana in our great state. The language in constitutional amendments is confusing and often difficult to interpret. Please read on if you'd like to learn firsthand from an experienced Florida medical marijuana lawyer exactly how Amendment 2 will modify our state constitution.
Amendment 2's official title is "Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions". This title and its summary address the fact that medical use of marijuana will be allowed in the state, at the approval of a licensed Florida physician. It also indicates how the Department of Health will monitor and regulate centers for production and distribution of different types of medical marijuana, as well as patients and caregivers.
Unlike many Amendments, and false claims from the opposition, this ballot is fairly named and represents exactly what it claims: it exclusively legalizes medical use and legalizes the Florida medical marijuana industry.
How Will This Affect the Florida Constitution?
Amendment 2 will add a section to Article X of the Florida Constitution. Section 29 will be created to address how marijuana will be produced, how much is legal to possess, who can possess it, and how it is to be used in the state under Florida law. From the legal perspective, I can tell you exactly what this policy means and how it changes our current constitution.
(a) PUBLIC POLICY.
(1) The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver in compliance with this section is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law.
(2) A physician shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law solely for issuing a physician certification with reasonable care to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition in compliance with this section.
(3) Actions and conduct by a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center registered with the Department, or its agents or employees, and in compliance with this section and Department regulations, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law.
Section 29, part 1 makes it legal for approved patients and caregivers to use medical marijuana within the state. Use would not be allowed in public places. It also indemnifies any physicians from legal action for prescribing patients with qualifying medical conditions.
Finally, this new addition will make it legal for authorized and compliant Florida medical marijuana Treatment Centers to sell and distribute medical marijuana.
Which Patients Will Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use?
Section 29, part b delineates the patients who can be prescribed medical marijuana if enough people vote Yes on Amendment 2. The section defines those with "debilitating medical conditions" as people diagnosed by a physician to have the following conditions:
Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS),
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),
And/or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as, or comparable to, those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
A patient must also have an ID card and a physician's certification to receive medical marijuana in Florida.
Who Approves Patients for Use?
The Amendment clarifies that either the Department of Health or its successor agency will be responsible for enforcing compliance, release of identification cards for patients or caregivers.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center?
An MMTC is any entity that is registered with the Department of Health (or successor agency) that provides one or more of the following services to patients or caregivers:
Possesses/develops food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments,
Sells/distributes/dispenses/administers marijuana or products containing marijuana,
Provides supplies and educational materials for marijuana.
Who Qualifies as a Caregiver?
A "Caregiver" must be at least twenty-one (21) years old and must have qualified for and obtained a caregiver identification card. The ID card will be issued by the Department of Health (or successor agency). The ID card designates who the caregiver is getting the marijuana for, and there may be a limit to the number of patients a caregiver can help at one time, as well as the number of caregivers a single patient can have. Under no circumstances are caregivers allowed to consume the marijuana that is prescribed to a patient under their care.
Who May Prescribe Medical Marijuana?
The Amendment is quite clear that only a Physician who is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Florida may prescribe Medical Marijuana in the state. The physician will sign a physician certification, which is a signed document stating that it is the doctor's professional opinion that his or her patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition, and that the use of medical marijuana will most likely outweigh the potential risks. It will also dictate the length of time the patient should use medical marijuana.
In order to get this certification, the patient must receive a full physical examination and assessment of the patient's medical history. For a minor to receive this certification, written parent or guardian consent is required.
So, Medical Marijuana Will Be Legal. What about Recreational Marijuana?
Recreational marijuana will not be legal in Florida! This amendment will only allow medical use of marijuana and legalize Florida's medical marijuana industry for cultivation/distribution. This will not allow anyone to use marijuana for any use other than regulated medical consumption under the advisement of a physician. It does not remove or repeal any of the standing laws regarding non-medical use, possession, production, or sale of marijuana in any way. It will still be illegal to use marijuana recreationally in the state.
As a local Florida medical marijuana lawyer with experience in Colorado, I support Amendment 2 and encourage you to vote "Yes" if you agree with the language of the amendment.
What about Regulation?
This amendment does not permit the use of marijuana combined with any other activities, such as operating a motor vehicle. It does not allow for medical marijuana consumption to take place publicly or in the workplace.
Finally, the amendment does not require health insurance providers to reimburse marijuana-related expenses.
What Role Will the Department of Health Play?
In addition to providing IDs to patients and caregivers, the Department of Health will be in charge of oversee developing regulations for availability and safe use of medical marijuana by those patients who qualify. The Amendment also dictates that the DoH must do so in a timely manner implementing regulations within 6 months of the passing of the amendment, and issuing ID cards. The Department of Health will also be in charge of compliance for businesses producing medical marijuana.
As you can read above, the Amendment itself exclusively applies to and paves the way towards legal medical marijuana in the state of Florida. Any concerns about recreational usage or public usage are addressed, and when you vote Yes on 2, you do not pass any recreational amendments. You exclusively allow those people with debilitating conditions to receive the medical help they need in the state.
Medical marijuana has been a huge success in Colorado and many other states. It's time that Florida joined the modern era and allowed patients to legally receive the help they need.
Amendment 2 is polling at a 74% approval rating in the polls. Be ready if it passes. Contact Feiler Marijuana Law to speak to an experienced Florida medical marijuana lawyer. Call us at (786) 574-6699 to get on the road to compliance today!
United For Care - Ballot Language