Is it June Yet?
Florida’s Amendment 2 is one of the briefest legalization laws ever passed. It’s five pages, tip to tail. Which means there are a lot of details still to be worked out.
Here’s the important stuff. It will soon be legal in the state of Florida for a patient to possess and use medical cannabis. Please note: It’s not legal yet!
According to Florida Law, approved state constitutional amendments are made effective “on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election.” Which means the new law kicks in on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.
Medical cannabis will be legal in spirit after Jan. 3, but it may not be legal according to the technical letter of the law. Amendment 2 requires patients to obtain (1) a letter of certification from a physician, and (2) a valid state-issued medical marijuana ID card. And it will be months before those ID cards will be available.
Fortunately, the new law requires the Florida Department of Health to finalize its MMJ regulations by June 3, 2017. The first ID cards must be issued to patients by September 3, 2017 or the physicians certification letter will suffice.
The Florida Department of Health has 6 months to establish program regulations, and determine a possession limit. It has 9 months from the passage of law, to start issuing Florida medical marijuana identification cards. A valid recommendation certification from a physician will serve the purpose of acting as a qualifying patient I.D. card, until such time as the Department is ready to starting issuing Amendment 2 effectively states that individuals diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, may use marijuana for medical purposes on the advisement of a licensed Florida physician.
The Florida medical marijuana law defines “debilitating medical condition” to include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cancer; Crohn’s disease; epilepsy; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); or any other ailment/condition of the same type/class as or comparable to those enumerated, as determined by a physicians opinion that the medical use of marijuana would surpass any potential, and unlikely, health risks.
Although it will take several months for the Florida Medical Marijuana Program to effectively begin, patients may start seeing physicians now, with the objective of establishing the state-required bonafide doctor-patient relationship, for early access to the medicine once it becomes available