The expanded list of qualifying medical conditions associated with Amendment 2, as well as the amendment itself, went into effect January 3, 2017. Patients, dispensing organizations, physicians, and the Florida Department of Health remain bound by the existing laws of Section 381.986 F.S. The Florida Department of Health has a commitment to quickly proceed through the process of rulemaking as a way to develop the regulatory structure of Amendment 2.

Qualified ordering physicians are responsible for following the Florida constitution as well as statute, which includes diagnosing patients and determining whether medical marijuana is the appropriate course of treatment. The department acts in a partnership with the law enforcement to take enforcement actions against businesses, patients, and doctors who operate outside of Florida law’s regulatory structure.

Patients who qualify to receive their order for HIGH and low-THC cannabis must meet the following requirements:

  • Be permanent residents of Florida
  • Have a qualified physician enter them in the Compassionate Use Registry
  • Have the diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition

Finding Qualified Physicians

Physicians are required to complete a 2-hour education course to be qualified to enter patients into the Compassionate Use Registry. Physicians can take this required course followed by the examination as long as they have an unrestricted and active license for practice as a physician according to Chapter 458 F.S. or if they are osteopathic physicians according to Chapter 459, F.S.

Finding Dispensing Organizations

The state of Florida has seven different approved dispensing organizations. Patients as well as their legal representatives can only fill their medical marijuana orders at one of these organizations. The dispensing organizations are opening up new dispensing facilities across the state. It is also possible for these dispensing organizations to deliver medical cannabis to a qualified patient or their legal representative. Those without dispensing facilities within their cities can fill their orders by contacting one of the organizations and setting up a delivery. It is important to note that the Office of Compassionate Use is not involved in the dispensing of medical marijuana to patients. Instead, you must directly contact one of the seven approved dispensing organizations.

Medical And Low-THC Cannabis

According to Section 381.986, F.S., qualified physicians can order a low-THC version of cannabis for their patients who are eligible and suffer from cancer or another physical medical condition which produces chronic symptoms of severe, persistent muscle spasms, pain or seizures. This is legally allowed as a method of alleviating symptoms of the condition, disease, or disorder, provided there is no satisfactory alternative treatment for this qualified patient.

Additionally, the statute lets qualified physicians place a recommendation for medical cannabis for eligible patients with the conditions that the patient’s physician has attested to. This condition must also have confirmation of diagnosis from an independent board-certified physician with an appropriate specialty for the given condition.

According to Florida law, terminal conditions are progressive diseases or surgical or medical conditions that lead to significant function impairment and the treating physician does not consider to be reversible with available treatments that are currently under approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The Florida Department of Health also initiated rulemaking to develop an Amendment 2 regulatory structure.

It is important to note that medical use of medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis excludes the following:

  • Transferring the medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis to someone who is not the qualified patient that the cannabis was ordered for or that patient’s legal representative
  • Using or administering medical cannabis or low-THC cannabis in a public place, on any public transportation, within a state correctional institution, in the patient’s place of employment (if the employer has placed a restriction on it), on any school vehicle or bus, or on the grounds of a preschool, secondary school, or primary school