Florida health officials have laid out a new process to implement the voter-approved constitutional amendment broadly legalizing medical marijuana, as they attempt to meet deadlines included in the November ballot measure.
The latest proposed rule came as the Department of Health awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature of a medical-marijuana bill adopted by lawmakers during a special session this month. That bill addressed major issues, such as how many companies will receive marijuana licenses and how many retail outlets they can run.
Lawmakers on Monday formally sent the bill (SB 8-A) to Scott, who has said he will sign it into law.
The House and Senate approved the bill during the special session after coming under fire for failing to pass a regulatory measure during the regular session that ended early in May.
Under the proposed rule published Friday, the Department of Health appears to be laying the groundwork for the new law, which establishes a number of regulatory guidelines.
“Today, to ensure compliance with our constitutional duties, the department published proposed rules for the implementation of Amendment 2, which was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in 2016,” Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said in an email Friday.
Gambineri said the department is crafting rules to comply with SB 8-A, “which provides a framework for patients to access marijuana safely.”
The constitutional amendment gives health officials until July 3 to craft rules to implement the amendment and until Oct. 3 to put the rules into effect.
Typical administrative-law procedures include timelines for challenges and revisions that could push finalization of the department’s regulations beyond the constitutional deadlines.
But the Department of Health is relying on an emergency rulemaking process authorized under the bill approved this month.
“This will enable the department to quickly implement the time-sensitive requirements of the legislation. Following emergency rulemaking, the department is committed to working collaboratively with the public through traditional rulemaking to establish a patient-centered medical marijuana program,” Gambineri said in an email.
Lawmakers in 2014 and 2016 approved measures that allowed medical cannabis for limited groups of patients, including people with terminal illnesses. But the constitutional amendment approved in November could make marijuana available to hundreds of thousands of patients — and make Florida one of the largest cannabis markets in the country.
The amendment gave doctors the authority to order marijuana for a broad swath of patients with debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida
USA Lover says
Smoke ’em if you got ’em. The smoking lamp is lit. I think I’m going to need some if I’m to survive in this town.
People with addictions taking this medical marijuana will only wind up going back to their original addictions! It is a proven fact. There are receptors in your brain that are feel good receptor that are lite up when an addict is given addictive medicine/alcohol/street drugs.. This is a street drug that is now legalized for the purpose of alleviating people with serious illnesses.. There are many opinions about this I am sure but understand that Florida thought they had issues with pill mills well this will be much worse than that. We will find more and more jails filled to the brim because doctors will be prescribing this to PSTD patients and patients with anxiety unbeknownst to the fact they are addicts and then the domino effect occurs.. Anyone who has authority to put a stop to this should think about the long term effects.. We are going to be seeing more and more people in terrible states of addiction.. I hope that whomever is reading this is from congress to judges and to doctors, etc that they take into effect what the consequences of this could mean. Addicts do not tell you they are addicted as most of them are in denial and the ones that do not even know they addicts will become addicts as they are taking a drug that causes addiction in 1 in every 6 person. Something to think about and to put a stop to before it gets too out of hand.