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.
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.
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