Florida Legalized Medical Marijuana! What Should I Do to Prepare to Enter the Industry?
Posted on December 01, 2016 by Jeffrey FeilerAmendment 2 passed, and I'm thrilled. As a member of United for Care and an experienced Florida medical marijuana lawyer, it's exciting to finally see our state moving forward in the same way as I watched Colorado develop its medical marijuana industry. In 2014, we fought hard to see it just barely miss the required 60% approval rating to be implemented, and our success in 2016 will bring new revenue and an era of medical care heretofore unknown to our great state.
However, we have a busy 6 months ahead as the Department of Health figures out the rules and regulations for dispensaries, as well as implements ID card programs for users and caregivers. As you prepare to enter the industry, you must be wondering how you can become competitive. The fact Is, many people are ready and have been preparing for this day to come for Florida – and now that it has, it's more important than ever to seize what little time remains before we have a fully-functioning medical marijuana (MMJ) industry in Florida.
A Medical Marijuana Attorney's Guide to Getting Started (Last Update: Nov. 2016)
Compliance is important. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, however the federal government is not enforcing criminal laws in states that have medical marijuana laws of their own. Compliance is crucial to avoid running afoul of the federal government, as well as being compliant with the emerging laws of Florida. The first step to being compliant is consulting with an experienced medical marijuana attorney. You should take these steps to educate yourself before that visit takes place.
1. Have you read Amendment 2? If the answer is no, then get reading – and then read it again. Write down any questions you have about it. Don't worry, it's pretty brief, and we've analyzed it for you here.
2. Where do you want to operate? Just because the state has legalized MMJ doesn't mean that local governments have to implement the new laws. In fact, most states that passed medical marijuana have also allowed local jurisdictions to ban dispensaries if they wish to do so. Cities and counties do this by enacting zoning laws and permissions to allow dispensaries or to ban them. So, your next step here is to determine which cities and counties will be friendly to medical marijuana in Florida. Lucky for you, I've already done some research on the subject. Take a look at my recent blog about medical marijuana friendly locations in Florida.
Note: if you're interested in starting a medical marijuana business in a city that has not made any moves one way or the other, take the opportunity to educate and persuade the county to pursue commercial MMJ.
3. Learn from Other States. Now that you've read Amendment 2, you know that it left an awful lot of regulation up to Florida's Department of Health. So, there are a lot of compliance issues that we're going to have to predict and prepare for to be successful. Fortunately, now a majority of states have implemented medical marijuana, so take a look at each state and learn about what the state might do in the next 6 months.
Don't forget, we already had some medical marijuana laws passed before Amendment 2. Check out the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act to learn more about the precedence Florida has set for dealing with medical marijuana.
Ultimately, the best way to prepare yourself is to stay informed and receive guidance from an experienced and up-to-date medical marijuana attorney who understands the regulations, which change frequently. As recently as September 2016, Costa Farms, Florida's biggest medical marijuana nursery, sued the Department of Health over its Charlotte's Web law. They won – and never would have done so if they had not paid attention to the law and its implementation.
For more information or an in-depth consultation, contact Feiler Marijuana Law at (305) 662-5663 today!