The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act: Legislative Findings, Purpose and Medical Cannabis Usage and Restrictions


Posted on December 03, 2013 by Jeffrey Feiler

The prohibition of marijuana in the United States, in effect for over 75 years, is based on outdated scientific evidence. In drafting the Cathy Jordan Medical Marijuana Act, members of the Florida Legislature have acknowledged the need to make a distinction between medical use of cannabis and recreational use of cannabis. Modern medical research has found beneficial uses for cannabis in treating pain, nausea, and other conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has even noted that, "there is substantial consensus among experts in the relevant disciplines on the scientific evidence about potential uses of marijuana."

Agriculture is the second largest industry in the State of Florida. The Sunshine State leads the Southeast region of the United States in farm income. Florida is ranked first among the states in the value of the oranges, grapefruit, snap beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, and the watermelons it produces. Florida's fertile farmland and booming farm industry makes the state an ideal environment for the medical marijuana business.

The legalization of medical marijuana in Florida will have an extraordinarily positive economic impact. The Florida medical marijuana industry is expected to create jobs, generate tax revenue, revitalize vacant farmland, increase sales of farming machinery and supplies, and generate occupancy of vacant commercial real estate.

Under the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, a qualifying patient may possess and use medical marijuana and all paraphernalia, solely for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition or the side effects of a qualifying medical treatment. The patient can qualify only after obtaining a signed, written recommendation from a physician, and an identification card form the Department of Health. A patient's caregiver may possess and administer medical marijuana to a qualifying patient, and possess and use paraphernalia for the sole purpose of assisting in the administration of medical marijuana to the patient.

If asked, a qualifying patient or caregiver must present a law enforcement officer his or her registry identification card to confirm that he or she is authorized to possess, use or administer medical cannabis and paraphernalia. The Act also honors registration cards, or their equivalent, issued under the laws of any other state that allows the medical use of cannabis. Minors may also possess, use or administer medical cannabis with a signed consent from their legal guardian.

All people seeking designation as a qualifying patient or caregiver must register with the Department of Health. The Act limits the amount of medical marijuana a qualifying patient may possess to either four (4) ounces of dried cannabis, eight (8) mature plants or eight (8) immature plants. Despite the limit, the Department has the authority to increase the minimums through an administrative ruling.

Although patients may not consume medical marijuana in a public place or at a dispensary, they may consume marijuana at a private residence or at a medical marijuana treatment facility. Patients may not undertake a task under the influence of marijuana. Doing so constitutes professional negligence or malpractice.

Recent scientific evidence has found benefits in using the cannabis plant to treat a variety of conditions. In drafting the Cathy Jordan Medical Marijuana Act, the Florida Legislature acknowledges that there is a difference between medical marijuana use and recreational marijuana use, and sets the guidelines through which the state can join the booming medical marijuana industry.

  • Broward, Florida
  • Miami-Dade, Florida
  • Palm Beach, Florida