House Bill 307 Authorizes Dispensing Organizations, Medical Cannabis in Florida
Posted on April 05, 2016 by Jeffrey FeilerAs your local medical marijuana lawyer, I'd like to introduce you to House Bill 307. This Bill authorizes Dispensing Organizations to cultivate, process, transport, and dispense medical cannabis to include the whole cannabis plant, and does not require a certain composition of cannabinoids. However, the Bill allows Dispensing Organizations to dispense, and physicians to order, medical cannabis only for qualified patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition under the Right To Try Act (RITA). This means that the patient has a progressive disease or medical or surgical condition that causes significant functional impairment, is not considered by the physician to be reversible, and, without the administration of life-sustaining procedures, will result in death within 1 year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course.
The Bill provides that dispensing organizations that meet certain criteria are to be granted cultivation authorization and are to be permitted to operate for the full term of their original approval and all subsequent renewals. If a court or administrative hearing determines a license in a district should have been awarded to another applicant, both applicants will get a license.
The Department of Health (DOH) is authorized to approve 3 additional Dispensing Organizations once there are at least 250,000 active qualified patients. At least 1 of the additional licenses must go to a member of the class identified under Pigford vs. Glickman, and also a member of the Black Farmers Association of Florida. The remaining licenses will be awarded to applicants, subject to the requirements established by SB 1030, notwithstanding the 30-year nursery/400,000 plant requirement.
The Bill creates new regulatory standards for Dispensing Organizations, including standards for maintaining DOH approval and for the growing, processing, testing, packaging, labeling, dispensing, distribution, and transportation of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis. DOH is allowed to perform inspections, create a registration card system for patients and their legal representatives, assess fees, and take disciplinary action. The Bill authorizes DOH to conduct unannounced inspections of licensed dispensing organization facilities.
The Bill also requires a physician to meet certain criteria before ordering low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis, including establishing a patient relationship for at least 3 months, meeting certain education requirements, and obtaining written informed consent from the patient or the patient's legal representative. Ordering physicians are prohibited from being a medical director employed by a Dispensing Organization and subjects a medical director to disciplinary action if the medical physician receives compensation from a dispensing organization related to the ordering of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis. The amount of medical cannabis that may be dispensed is limited to a 45-day supply.
This Bill requires Dispensing Organizations to contract with an independent Testing laboratory to perform audits on the Dispensing Organization's testing records and samples, and provide the results to DOH to confirm the low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana meets the safety and potency requirements, and is safe for human consumption.
When growing low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, the bill provides that a Dispensing Organization may use pesticides determined by DOH to be safely applied to plants intended for human consumption and requires the dispensing organization to grow and process low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis within an enclosed structure and in a room separate from any other plant.
Universities and State Colleges with a college of agriculture are authorized to research cannabis consistent with state and federal law. This Bill becomes effective upon becoming law.
Attorney Jeffrey Feiler is an experienced medical marijuana lawyer. He is also a member of the Board of United for Care. Mr. Feiler is can discuss the House Bill and advise clients interested in becoming involved with medical marijuana in Florida. For more information, call the Jeffrey Feiler Marijuana Law Firm today at (305) 662-5663.