Smokeable flower is now available to medical marijuana patients in Florida. Learn all about this new law, who qualifies, and other Sunshine State MMJ laws.
Florida has some of the most complicated marijuana laws in the country. Who is eligible, for what conditions, and how patients can get it raise a lot of questions about the plant and its uses. To add more confusion to the table, newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bill SB 182 into law in March of 2019, effectively allowing smokable flower to the list of consumption methods for medical marijuana patients.
Let’s take a closer look at the laws surrounding Florida marijuana use and this new smokeable flower law to see how they affect you.
Florida has a Broad List of Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions
Prior to the passing of Amendment 2, which expanded the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients, only low-THC medical marijuana was permitted. After the passing of this amendment, the list of conditions was expanded to include debilitating conditions of the same kind or class.
This “same kind or class” language provides physicians some leniency in their recommendation of medical marijuana as it gives them the opportunity to exercise their medical judgement of a patients’ debilitating or chronic condition. This means that patients can qualify for medical marijuana in the State of Florida for conditions that were previously limited to only those listed.
Recreational Marijuana Usage is Still Illegal
The popularity of medical marijuana in the state combined with the newly passed smokeable flower laws have created some confusion surrounding the laws of marijuana and its uses. The legality of recreational marijuana has remained unchanged – it is still illegal to possess, sell, or traffic marijuana in Florida.
Only medically qualified patients are eligible to purchase medical marijuana, and those authorized to use medical marijuana are not permitted any non-medical use or possession.
To complicate things more, marijuana is still considered a “Schedule I drug” by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning it gets the same classification as heroin and ecstasy on a Federal level. This scheduling also means the Federal government sees the drug as having no accepted medical use, even though states and medical marijuana laws directly contradict this.
So far, the federal government and states have done well to confuse Floridians and other recreational and medical marijuana users throughout the country. However, in the State of Florida where medical marijuana is legal, it is important to know that you get legally get a medical marijuana card, purchase medical marijuana through a licensed dispensary, and remain free of any federal government backlash as long as you use the drug in accordance with the laws.
One grey area is now smokeable medical marijuana, as it has now been legalized for medical use but does come with some caveats.
Smokeable Flower in Florida
As mentioned, smokeable flower has been added to the list of appropriate delivery systems for medical marijuana, effectively joining oils, sprays, tinctures, and vapes. Patients can now get a maximum of six 35-day supplies if their qualifying physician approves it. This can add up to 2.5 ounces per 35-day supply, with a limit of 4 ounces at any given time.
There is a catch for smokable flower that does not apply to the other delivery methods: the qualifying physician must determine that smoking marijuana is the most appropriate route of administration compared to the other routes. Additionally, the physician must provide documentation on the other routes of administration, the length of time they were used, evidence that supports smoking as the most effective route of administration, and a signed statement opining that smoking medical marijuana outweighs the risks.
In short, smokeable flower probably won’t be an option that is recommended for most patients.
Florida Marijuana Laws Takeaways
As you can see, the laws surrounding marijuana in Florida are complex but are not impossible to navigate. Recreational use is still illegal, while medical use starts with a visit to a qualified medical marijuana physician who can determine if you are eligible. Smokeable flower is now available for patients, but the risks of smoking the product are greatly subject to interpretation of its benefits over other medical marijuana delivery systems.
This is a guest submission from Daniel Lofaso from THC Physicians.