Monthly Archives: August 2014

How to Sign Up as a Prescribing Physician With the Compassionate Use Registry

grc4575-smith, michael l. - '00144487  p2Michael L. Smith, R.R.T., J.D., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Effective January 1, 2015, physicians will be able to prescribe low-THC cannabis for patients suffering from cancer or a chronic condition that produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms. On June 16, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030 (Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014) into law, making it legal for qualified Florida patients to take low-THC cannabis. Click here to read SB 1030.

With the legalization of low-THC cannabis, state health officials are now left to sort out many details before physicians can prescribe medical marijuana.

How Florida Physicians Can Register to Prescribe Medical Cannabis.

If a physician intends to prescribe low-THC cannabis he or she will need to register as the prescribing physician for the patient on the compassionate use registry maintained by the Florida Department of Health (DOH). The proposed application forms are available on the DOH website.

Prescribing physicians must also complete an 8-hour course, and subsequent examination offered by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. The first course must be offered by October 1, 2014, and at least annually thereafter.

However, neither the Florida Medical Association nor the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association has published any information on the required course for physicians to become qualified to prescribe low-THC cannabis.

Florida Department of Health Still Working Out the Kinks.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 directs the Florida DOH to establish an Office of Compassionate Use to implement and manage the various aspects of the program. This group’s responsibilities include:

– Establishing a secure, electronic and online compassionate use registry for the registration of physicians and patients that will also be accessible to law enforcement;

– Authorizing the establishment of five dispensing organizations to ensure reasonable statewide accessibility and availability necessary for patients registered in the compassionate use registry;

– Creating a network of state universities and medical centers to enhance access to investigational new drugs for Florida patients through approved clinical treatment plans or studies; and

– Adopting rules necessary to implement the law.

The Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use will meet on September 5, 2014, to discuss proposed administrative code rules implementing Chapters 2014-157 and 2014-158, Laws of Florida, acts relating to cannabis and public records.

Be sure to check this blog regularly for updates from this meeting.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 is just the first step for Florida. A broader medical marijuana law, Amendment 2, will appear on Florida’s November ballot. If passed, Amendment 2 will legalize the growing, purchasing, possession and use of marijuana to treat medical conditions.

Comments?

Are you planning on registering with the compassionate use registry? Why or why not? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: Michael L. Smith, R.R.T., J.D., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2014 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

Don’t Get Burnt: Update Your Workplace Policies and Procedures to Include Medical Marijuana

1 Indest-2008-1By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 16, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030 (Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014) into law, making it legal for qualified Florida patients to take low-THC cannabis in liquid form. The specific medical marijuana is approved to treat certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, muscle spasms and cancer. Medical marijuana treatment may be available in Florida as soon as January 2015. Click here to read SB 1030.

A broader medical marijuana law, Amendment 2, will appear on Florida’s November ballot. If passed, Amendment 2 will legalize the growing, purchasing, possession and use of marijuana to treat medical conditions. Amendment 2 does not address how employers should treat employees who are qualified to use marijuana medically. The proposed law would not require employers to accommodate the on-site medical use of marijuana.

This discussion is one that needs to happen in the workplace. According to a Washington Post article, more than half of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Currently, seventeen states plus Washington, D.C., have eliminated jail time for possession. In fact, medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, plus the District of Columbia. Click here to read the entire Washington Post article.

Medical Marijuana Employment Laws Across the States.

In states that have already legalized medical marijuana, such as California, Montana, Washington and Oregon, the state supreme court has upheld an employer’s decision to terminate employees for their marijuana use outside the office. These individual courts held that medical marijuana laws only protect patients from criminal penalties and not from being fired by their employers.

It is slightly different in Colorado where marijuana is legal, regardless of medical use. Colorado’s state law prohibits the termination of employees for legal activities after work.

Florida’s current law and proposed Amendment 2 may also have effects on employee health insurance and workers’ compensation. New Mexico has a medical marijuana law similar to Amendment 2. A few weeks ago, an appellate court in New Mexico decided that marijuana is a medical expense covered under the state’s workers’ compensation system. The court required reimbursement to an employee for the cost of marijuana to treat chronic back pain caused by a workplace injury.

Tips for Creating a Workplace Medical Marijuana Policy.

Under federal law, the possession and use of any amount of marijuana is illegal. Federal law applies everywhere in the United States, including those states that permit recreational or medical use of marijuana. However, because of these new state laws, employees in states such as Colorado or Washington may think it’s perfectly acceptable to show up to work stoned.

Since it is most likely that marijuana will soon be available in Florida, it is in your best interest as an employer to revisit your company’s drug policies and procedures to include a section on marijuana.

Here are some things to consider when creating a marijuana policy:

1. Add consequences for the use of marijuana at work and shortly before work. Address the consequences of an employee showing up to work under the influence of marijuana. Be careful: certain states prohibit discharging, penalizing, or refusing to hire lawful medical marijuana users based upon a positive drug test for marijuana unless the employee used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana while on the employer’s premises or during work hours.

2. Don’t completely prohibit the use of marijuana at all times. In other words, don’t create a policy that prohibits employees from using marijuana when they are clocked out after work. Focus on regulating on-the-job conduct and employee performance.

3. Be sure to include marijuana in any drug-testing policy. However, keep in mind your state’s drug testing laws.

4. Make safety a priority. Your policies and procedures should ultimately center around workplace safety.

5. Be aware of how medical marijuana laws and employer actions may intertwine with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other non-discrimination laws.

Employers must balance their obligation to keep the workplace safe with the possibility of accommodating employees’ medical marijuana use.

Comments?

What are your thoughts on Florida’s Amendment 2? How are you handling medical marijuana policies and procedures in your office or practice? Please leave any thoughtful comments below

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm represents health care professionals, providers and facilities ready to update company policies and procedures to comply with Florida’s medial marijuana laws. Our attorneys routinely represent pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Leiby, Richard. “The Lonely Lot of the Anti-pot Crusader.” The Washington Post. (July 25, 2015). From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-lonely-lot-of-the-anti-pot-crusader/2014/07/22/7d0d490a-1036-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html

Huhman, Heather. “Why Your Company Needs an Up-to-Date Marijuana Policy.” Entrepreneur. (July 30, 2014). From: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235999

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2014 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.