Medical Marijuana Legalization in Florida Expanding: What You Need to Know

After the vote failed by a narrow margin in 2014, Amendment 2 passed on November 8 with 71 percent of Floridians voting for legalizing medical marijuana. The new law will take effect starting on January 3, 2017, but legislators are still writing the new regulations. Therefore, this information is subject to change once Florida lawmakers finalize the legislation.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Florida, and patients with access to medical marijuana will need to be cautious once the program begins. The following information can help you understand the laws, your rights, and responsibilities if your doctor prescribes medical marijuana.

Who is eligible to receive medical marijuana in Florida?

Even before the November 8 vote, Florida residents had access to medical marijuana in a very limited capacity. The prescriptions were only available for patients with terminal illnesses, certain cancers, or conditions that cause seizures or severe muscle spasms. With the new laws, the list of acceptable conditions may increase to include “debilitating” conditions, which include HIV/AIDS and glaucoma.

Another caveat in the current law that may carry over to the new law is that a doctor can only prescribe medical marijuana under the following conditions:

  • Completed the state-required training for administering medical marijuana.
  • At least 90-day relationship with patient.
  • Must determine that no other satisfactory treatment exists for the patient’s condition.
  • Must weigh the benefits against the risks.
  • If the patient is under 18, another physician must agree with the decision to prescribe medical marijuana.

What do I need to know if I get a medical marijuana prescription?

If you get a medical marijuana prescription, your doctor will arrange for a state-approved and fully licensed medical marijuana dispensary to provide the appropriate dose. Your doctor will also arrange for you to hold a special license giving you legal permission to possess the cannabis.

Remember that recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Florida. You could face criminal charges for the following:

  • Obtaining a medical marijuana prescription under false pretenses (e.g., faking a qualifying health condition).
  • Utilizing your prescription in any public place, or private area where use is prohibited.
  • Current law prohibits smoking the marijuana.
  • Sharing or selling your prescription or equipment.
  • Failing to take precautions to prevent others from accessing your prescription.
  • Attempting to obtain cannabis from any source except your physician or approved dispensary.

Facing Marijuana Charges? Call Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg

Despite Florida voters approving the medical marijuana amendment, the state’s laws are still a work in progress. We will provide updates on the status of the rules and regulations as they are available.

Meanwhile, if you are arrested for marijuana possession in St. Petersburg, contact Goldman Wetzel. Our drug defense attorneys, can help you avoid unwarranted charges when you are in legal possession of marijuana.