Florida’s Compassionate Use Act (Cannabis)
What does Florida law say?
In 2014, Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 (Florida Senate Bill 1030) (http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/1030) , created by Florida’s Department of Health and signed into law by the Governor, established the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) (http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use/). This law allowed specified physicians to prescribe medical marijuana (at this point in time a low-THC cannabis) to specified patients in Florida.
Two Categories of Patients – Two Types of Medical Marijuana
Florida law permits certain permanent Florida residents to obtain medical cannabis via an authorized physician who has undergone required training and is licensed under Florida Statues 458 or 459.
When no other satisfactory treatment exists and the authorized physician determines that the benefits of ordering medical marijuana for that patient outweigh the risks, there are currently two categories two categories of patients and two categories of product.
Low-THC Cannabis: Patients with epilepsy or a condition that causes chronic seizures or chronic muscle spasms or cancer may qualify to receive low-THC cannabis. Low-THC cannabis has very low amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC and does not usually produce the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.
Medical Cannabis: If a patient is suffering from a terminal condition, as determined by two physicians, the patient may qualify for medical cannabis. This product can contain sufficient levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC to produce the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.
Your Doctor or a Doctor You Choose Must . . .
A Florida physician is authorized to order low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis, ONLY if he/she:
- Holds an active, unrestricted license as a physician or an osteopathic physician
- Has treated the patient for at least three months immediately preceding the patient’s registration in the compassionate use registry
- Has successfully completed the Florida Medical Association course and examination.
- Has determined that the risks of treating the patient with low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis / medical marijuana are reasonable in light of the potential benefit to the patient
- Registers as the one who will order of low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for the named patient on the Compassionate Use Registry
- May not prescribe more than a 45-day supply with each prescription
- Maintains a patient treatment plan that includes the dose, route of administration, planned duration and monitoring of the patient’s symptoms and other indicators of tolerance or reaction to the low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis
- Submits the patient treatment plan quarterly to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy for research on the safety and efficacy of low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis
- Obtains the voluntary, written informed consent of the patient or the patient’s legal representative/guardian to treatment with medical marijuana
Florida’s Current Approved/Licensed Growers/Producers of Product
The Florida Department of Health has currently approved six ‘growers’ to cultivate, process and dispense low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis and derivative products to patients. The approved dispensing organizations are: Chestnut Hill Tree Farm (Alachua County), Grandiflora / San Felasco Nurseries (Alachua County), Trulieve / Hackney Nursery (Gadsden County), Surterra Therapeutics / Alpha Foliage (Hillsborough County), Modern Health Concepts / Costa Nursery Farms (Miami-Dade County), and Knox Nursery (Orange County).
Current List of Approved Doctors Can Be Found