Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation allowing dispensaries to sell dried marijuana flower to be smoked, and lawyers say there won’t be much work for marijuana companies and dispensaries until rules on how it can be sold are formalized.
Until Monday, patients who had a doctor’s certificate could take medical cannabis in the form of only a pill or liquid for vaping.
Peter Porcaro, the founder of Porcaro Law in Delray Beach, said it won’t be too difficult for companies to begin implementing the sale of dried flower at their dispensaries.
“It’s going to be pretty easy to implement this into organizations,” Porcaro explained. “It already comes in a vape pod.”
Right now, the only hard-and-fast rule in the law is that dispensaries may not sell more than 2.5 ounces to a patient or caregiver every 35 days. Patients can legally possess up to 4 ounces.
“The law makes clear that the medical marijuana treatment centers are allowed to sell a limited quantity of flower,” said Richard Blau, a shareholder at GrayRobinson in Tampa.
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Attorneys expected sales to be delayed while rules were drafted by the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
But Trulieve began sales Thursday, and Curaleaf received quick state approval to expand its retail line to smokable marijuana.
Some regulatory changes are still expected. Jonathan Robbins, a partner and chair of the cannabis practice at Akerman in Fort Lauderdale, foresees some restrictions to address packaging or labeling.
Additional requirements are likely for doctors prescribing medical marijuana.
“Doctors are going to have additional reporting requirements,” Porcaro explained.
He said doctors will have to submit forms showing why the patient would benefit from the use of dried marijuana.
In 2016, 71 percent of voters approved Amendment 2, which opened the door to medical marijuana in Florida, one of 31 states where it’s legal. But a 2017 law eliminated smokable marijuana as an option.
The administration of former Gov. Rick Scott maintained roadblocks to smokable marijuana, but DeSantis pushed for a smokable form for medical use to honor “the voice of its people.” The change was the first bill he signed into law.
State records show more than 136,000 patients received certifications from 1,070 physicians to receive medical marijuana for qualifying conditions led by post-traumatic stress disorder in the first nine months of 2018.