Monthly Archives: March 2016

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On March 16, 2016, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives passed a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in certain forms. The vote was 149-43, with all voting Democrats and more than half of Republicans in support of the bill. The bill now moves onto the Senate, which has already approved an earlier version of the measure 10 months ago.

Growth in Medical Marijuana Programs.

In 2014, the Senate approved medical marijuana legislation, but stalled in committee and never reached a vote in the House. In 2015, the original version of the bill passed the Senate by a 40-7 vote. House Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, who is a major proponent of medical marijuana said, “We want to get this done ASAP.”

The bill that passed would establish a system of growers and dispensaries to provide marijuana to patients with certain conditions. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, HIV and AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All patients are required to be certified by a doctor.

The Stipulations of the Bill.

Under this bill, patients would be allowed to use marijuana in the form of a pill or oil, or through vaporization but they would not be allowed to smoke it. Sales from the dispensaries would be taxed at 5 percent, with the money paying for the Department of Health (DOH) operations for the program. It will also go toward law enforcement and drug abuse services and for research about medical marijuana in general.

Gov. Tom Wolf, indicated that he was eager to pass the legislation and sign the finished product. “We will finally provide the essential help needed by patients suffering from seizures cancer and other illnesses,” Mr. Wolf stated.

If you want to learn more about medical marijuana legislation, click here to read our medical marijuana law blog.  Be sure to check back regularly as we update our blog with helpful information frequently.

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 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Packel, Dan. “Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Pa. House.” Law360. (March 16, 2016). Web.

Langley, Karen. “Pennsylvania House passes medical marijuana bill.” Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau. (March 16, 2016). Web.

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.

KeyWords: medical marijuana, medical marijuana growers, medical marijuana cultivation, medical marijuana license, Pennsylvania medical cannabis, medical marijuana lawyer, marijuana attorney, low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, Department of Health (DOH), Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana regulations, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney, cannabis for treatment of debilitating medical condition, formal administrative hearing

“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 © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Florida Health Officials Wrongfully Reject Pot Applicant

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
According to a ruling issued on February 26, 2016, Florida health officials wrongfully denied an application from a Gainesville nursery in competition to become one of the state’s five medical marijuana dispensing organizations. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) erroneously disqualified Daniel Banks and San Felasco Nurseries.

Level 2 Screening.

The erroneous disqualification was a result of the nursery’s owner or manager allegedly failing a level 2 background screening. San Felasco Nurseries was one of five nurseries vying for a license in Florida, but lost due to Daniel Banks’ reported Kansas conviction for a drug crime more than a decade ago. Florida state law currently bans convicted felons from being owners or managers of dispensing organizations.

Drug Crime in Kansas, Not Florida.

Banks, is reported to have pleaded “no contest” to illegal possession of a drug in Kansas in 2004. While the crime is a felony in Florida, under Kansas law it is a misdemeanor. According to Administrative Law Judge R. Bruce McKibben: “. . . and since he was charged in Kansas, not in Florida, his crime was a misdemeanor, not a felony, for purposes of determining whether it was a disqualifying offense.”

Judge McKIbben has a very good reputation among Florida’s administrative law judges. What he was referring to, of course, is the requirement that one state give “full faith and credit” to the acts or other states. This is a requirement of the U.S. Constitution. Thus if Kansas treats the matter as a misdemeanor, Florida must give full faith and credit to Kansas’s decision. Florida is not allowed to go behind that decision and say: “No this is really a felony.”

Judge McKibben’s ruling on February 26, 2016, is the latest in the battle over a 2014 Florida law that authorizes non-euphoric medical marijuana for patients with chronic seizures or cancer.

To read more on the selection of nurseries for medical marijuana in Florida, click here to read of my previous blogs.

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 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source:

Kam, Dara. “Judge Rules for Pot Applicant.” Orlando Sentinel. (Fenruary 28, 2016). Print.

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. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Florida medical marijuana, medical marijuana growers, medical marijuana cultivation, medical marijuana license, Charlotte’s Web, House Bill 307, medical marijuana lawyer, marijuana attorney, low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, Department of Health (DOH), Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana regulations, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney, cannabis for treatment of debilitating medical condition, formal administrative hearing

“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 © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Medical Marijuana in Florida Rolls Onto the Governor’s Desk as State Senate Approves Bill

6 Indest-2008-3George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Medical Marijuana was back in the hot seat in Florida on March 7, 2016. The Florida House of Representatives continued efforts to expand the scope of medical marijuana with a vote on a bill that would extend access to all terminally ill patients. Whether the governor will approve it or smoke it is still up in the air.

Florida Senate Approves Expansion.

The Florida state Senate voted 28-11 to approve a bill (HB 307) that expands the Right to Try Act to include medical marijuana. Among other things, the bill allows eligible patients—defined as someone with one year left to live—to legally purchase medical marijuana from dispensing organizations. Additionally under this proposal, licensed organizations can grow and distribute medical marijuana, not just the low-THC products authorized under the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, to terminally ill patients. This greatly expands the allowable use of medical marijuana so that many terminal patients will be authorized to use it, not just patients with a few rare diseases.

The bill also authorizes that the Department of Health (DOH) can issue three additional dispensary licenses, once 250,000 people have signed up for the compassionate use registry. This bill is aimed to ease frustrations over delays in the legalization, add framework for criminal penalties, and new regulations for testing, packaging, labeling and transportation etc.

To read more on the bill, click here.

I still believe that this small number of approved nurseries and dispensaries undercuts the stated purpose of the legislation and is anti-competitive. Whatever rationale is being used to artificially limit these may later be determined to be capricious and arbitrary, especially after the amendment to the Florida Constitution is approved in the next election.

The Bill Now Goes to the Governor.

Now that the Florida Senate has approved the bill, it will go on to Florida’s governor Rick Scott to approve or veto. To keep up to date with medical marijuana issues in Florida, click here to view our blog.

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 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Hale, Nathan. “Medical pot bill rolls on, but leaves Fla. Senate frustrated.” Law360. (March 4, 2016).

“Medical marijuana expansion heads to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.” Bradenton Herald. (March 7, 2016). Web.

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.

KeyWords: Florida medical marijuana, medical marijuana growers, medical marijuana cultivation, medical marijuana license, Charlotte’s Web, House Bill 307, medical marijuana lawyer, marijuana attorney, low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, Department of Health (DOH), Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, medical marijuana regulations, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney, cannabis for treatment of debilitating medical condition, formal administrative hearing

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 © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.