WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 2 MEAN FOR FLORIDA?
November 8, 2016 marked a state of Florida confusion. Medical Marijuana was voted into the State’s Constitution. However, this vote will not usher in the “green rush” needed to save the Florida economy, fill the commercial vacancies, create a secondary market for the gluttony of abandoned or dilapidated housing, create jobs, economic and social growth, new technologies or the happiness found in States such as Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington…. My fellow Floridians, I’m afraid our State politicians have again led us to the road where only the few benefit.
BALLOT TITLE: Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions
BALLOT SUMMARY: Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
ARTICLE AND SECTION BEING CREATED OR AMENDED: Article X, Section 29
(1) “Debilitating Medical Condition” means cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status
for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
8. (d) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT. The Department shall issue reasonable regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this section. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. It is the duty of the Department to promulgate regulations in a timely fashion.
(1) Implementing Regulations. In order to allow the Department sufficient time after passage of this section, the following regulations shall be promulgated no later than six (6) months after the effective date of this section:
a. Procedures for the issuance and annual renewal of qualifying patient identification cards to people with physician certifications and standards for renewal of such identification cards. Before issuing an identification card to a minor, the Department must receive written consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian, in addition to the physician certification.
b. Procedures establishing qualifications and standards for caregivers, including conducting appropriate background checks, and procedures for the issuance and annual renewal of caregiver identification cards.
c. Procedures for the registration of MMTCs that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure proper security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.
d. A regulation that defines the amount of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patients’ medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use.
(2) Identification cards and registrations. The Department shall begin issuing qualifying patient and caregiver identification cards, and registering MMTCs no later than nine (9) months after the effective date of this section.
What this means is that medical marijuana shall only be allowed for those diagnosed with the above stated “debilitating medical conditions” and only provided by a presently undetermined select few. Those believing that they voted in the passage of being able to sit with friends, roll a big “stogie” and enjoy the intoxicating effects and odor of a good Kush better think again. In fact, not even those who do qualify as being diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition may enjoy the soothing effect and rush of THC coursing through the body and easing it’s pains. Our legislators’ and Department of Health while not defining matters important to those wanting to partake in the Florida cannabis industry, made sure that they put within the amendment vague limitations and unbridled powers to ensure their control.
(4) “Marijuana” has the meaning given cannabis in Section 893.02(3), Florida Statutes (2014), and, in addition, “Low-THC cannabis” as defined in Section 381.986(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2014), shall also be included in the meaning of the term “marijuana.”
As evidenced by the Amendment only Low-THC cannabis may be grown. The definition of “low” has yet to be written. It is unknown what the Florida Department of Health shall set as a percentage of permissible THC levels. It is unknown whether the Florida Department of Health shall allow patients with cannabis strains sufficient to cause a psychotropic effect.
Intake: The Florida Department of Health has additionally not informed the voters as to just how patients will be able to digest or ingest their cannabis medicine. Presently, only oil extracts are permissible. Thus, any flower ingestion such as by joint or bong is not permitted.
Florida citizens also voted for an amendment believing that this language will allow them entry into the “smell of money”. Not. Nowhere in the amendment does it call for an entry system or procedures allowing us to engage in licensing, dispensary or grow ownership, citizen grows, or decriminalization for personal use.
Alarming is that no definitions or safe-harbor procedures have yet been identified for prescribing physicians. Logically, this should be the starting point, unless it was the intent of our State Politicians’ this whole time to give us something in name only. I’m sure our politicians knew that if the physicians can’t safely prescribe or wouldn’t, it would render Florida’s cannabis program ineffective and change nothing. Physicians need to be very weary prior to any issuance of a medical marijuana card, that they and their office are in legal compliance. Failure to be in compliance may result in felony charges being brought and the loss of their medical license.
For more information on Florida’s “do’s and do nots”, please make an appointment to see one of Ganja Law’s attorneys. Appointments can be made at: www.GanjaLaw.com, or by calling, Tel. 1-855-4-THC-LAW.
Industry in the making
The Firm shall comply with Florida Bar Rule 4-1.2(b), and specifically with subsection (d) thereof, as follows:
4-1.2(d) Criminal or Fraudulent Conduct. A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is criminal or fraudulent. However, a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning, or application of the law.
If the Firm comes to know or reasonably should know that Clients expect assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law, or if the Firm intends to act contrary to the instructions, the Firm must consult with the Client regarding the limitations on the Firm’s conduct.
It is further acknowledged that pursuant to the Comment to Criminal, Fraudulent, and Prohibited Transactions of Florida Bar Rule 4-1.2(d):
A lawyer is required to give an honest opinion about the actual consequences that appear likely to result from a client’s conduct. The fact that a client uses advice in a course of action that is criminal or fraudulent does not, of itself, make a lawyer a party to the course of action. However, a lawyer may not assist a client in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know to be criminal or fraudulent. There is a critical distinction between presenting an analysis of legal aspects of questionable conduct and recommending the means by which a crime or fraud might be committed with impunity.