The Legality of the Medical Marijuana
Program in Florida
In Florida, the Medical Marijuana licensee “Trulieve” began distributing marijuana flower in its dispensaries and through their home delivery service. Accordingly, the Office of Compassionate Use (“OCU”) issued a cease and desist notice, demanding Trulieve to stop such sale. Initially the Department of Health (“DOH”) approved the sale of the product; however, the use was for vaporizing methods only. When the DOH discovered that the flower could be removed from its container and use in forms other than vaporizing, they step in with the cease and desist notice.
In early May, Florida legislators failed to reach an agreement regarding the states new medical marijuana program under Amendment 2. Despite the failed compromise, current MMJ licensees have been distributing high THC medical marijuana to registered patients who are not terminally ill, when they have only been granted a license to distribute CBD only marijuana, and high THC marijuana to those terminally ill patients.
Amendment 2 is silent and to whether these current licenses are to be grandfathered in under Amendment 2 medical marijuana program. Leaving the question, “Are they supposed to be selling high THC marijuana to patients who are not terminally ill?” Legally they are not suppose to because as mentioned above, our legislators failed to reach an agreement, Amendment 2 is silent on the issue and the DOH has not release it proposed rules, much less its file rules. Thus, legally speaking the current licensees who have been distributing marijuana to patients who are not deemed terminally ill are doing so in violation against State and Federal law. Even Federal law, through the Cole Memorandums conspicuously state that the language found within said memorandum only protects those who are operating under the state’s comprehensive program.
Floridians must wait at least until July 3rd to know DOH’s proposed rules for the states new MMJ program. There has been an enormous push from the current licensees, who are only authorized to operate under a CDB only program, to maintain the status quo and keep anyone from obtaining a MMJ license under the new program. At the same time, patients, cannabis activist, investors, and many others have voiced their opinion about leaving the market free and open for the benefit of all Floridians. “Initial estimates by Marijuana Business Daily forecast that dispensary sales in Florida could hit $600 million-$800 million a few years after the new program launches.”
GreenAcre Consulting Team
1395 Brickell Avenue, Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131