Below is a list of topics that our community successfully advocated for/had included in the final Bill that was signed into law by Governor Scott on Friday, June 23, 2017.
Things we accomplished:
- The 90-Day wait was removed!
- "Chronic Non-Malignant Pain" was added as a qualifying condition.
- The Integrity of "and other debilitating conditions" was maintained. Qualified doctors can now recommend Cannabis at their discretion (albeit with extra paper work).
- Sales tax was removed.
- We prevented Mel Sembler (Drug Free America) from allocating immediate funds under the guise of education. It’s important to note that this is still an ongoing battle.
- Public use of Low-THC (High CBD) Cannabis is now allowed for all qualifying, card holding patients.
- Public use of High-THC, Medical Cannabis is now a misdemeanor for all qualifying, card holding patients.
- The Moffitt Cancer Research Center will now receive $750,000 towards studying the benefits of Cannabis Use for Cancer Patients.
- FAMU will receive funds to study the effects of Non-Medical Cannabis Use in Minorities.
- Parents of children who utilize Cannabis and their Local School Boards now have an established procedure to follow in allowing/administering both High-THC and Low-THC products in Public Schools. Click here and see line 2085 to read the complete section for yourself
- All Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) are now required to have all their products tested by a third-party independent tester.
- Hydrocarbons such as BHO (Shatter, Wax) are now allowed to be manufactured and dispensed by MMTC's.
- The 30-Year requirement for businesses to apply for a Cultivation License was removed; new applicants must be in business for five years.
- A member of the Black Farmers Association who was a litigant in Pigford vs. Glickman will be awarded a Cultivation License.
- All minority groups now have a have a fair chance at receiving a cultivation license (assuming the Department of Health [DOH] doesn’t add any odd rules).
- DOH must award four (4) new licenses per 100,000 active patients.
- Ten additional licenses will be awarded, although it's important to know that many of the ten have already been pre-selected.
- Medical Cannabis Identification Cards will be HIPAA Compliant.
- Snow-birds and other temporary residents are now able to obtain a Medical Cannabis Recommendation/Card due to additional documents being recognized as approved "Proof of Residency".
- Patients are no longer required to have a State Issued Identification Card in order to receive your Medical Recommendation/Card. Having one does make the process easier however.
- If a Local Municipality votes to allow Dispensaries within their County/Cities, they cannot zone Dispensaries any worse than a pharmacy such as CVS or Walgreen's.
Here in Florida, we are very lucky to have such an informed and active community. Our advocates worked together, collaborating masterfully in order to tackle these issues head on, in a way that provided results. Also, our patient community operated together in a way that allowed new, relevant, and accurate information to be quickly spread to thousands of patients statewide.
I have advocated for Cannabis in several different States, and I have yet to see a community more dedicated to a cause they believe in than ours in Florida. Our community's dedication to patient access, education, and common sense rule-making makes me extremely hopeful for the future of Florida's Medical Cannabis program.
Ultimately, the biggest take away here should be that thousands of sick patients can now obtain access to this life saving medicine - and that is something to smile about. This may not have been the Bill that our patients and advocates wanted, but please know the above list serves as proof that our voices were heard, and our efforts were well received by the legislature.
We can be very proud of ourselves; but remember, we must work to continue this momentum! Session starts early in 2018 with committee weeks beginning in September!
If you’re interested in being a greater part of the 2018 legislative push, plan to join us October 7, 2017 beginning at 11:00 AM for a round-table discussion in Inglis, Florida. This is part of our FAM Fall Festival and Retreat. Our legislative advocacy leadership will be on-hand discussing strategies and goals for the next session. Click here to get more information.