(Photo: Stanimir G. Stoev/Shutterstock.com) (Photo: Stanimir G. Stoev/Shutterstock.com)

Florida 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.

Before Monday, patients who had the recommendation of a doctor, could only take medical cannabis in the form of a pill or liquid for vaping. Dispensaries in Florida had been selling cannabis that can be smoked; however, it was in the form of a liquid that could only be used in vaping devices.

(Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant, according to the state Department of Public Health.)

Peter Porcaro, the founder of Porcaro Law in Delray Beach, Florida, said it will not be too difficult for those 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.

“The law makes clear that the medical marijuana treatment centers are allowed to sell a limited quantity of flower,” Richard Blau, a shareholder at GrayRobinson in Tampa, Florida, said.


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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 also may be placed on doctors who prescribe the use of medical marijuana.

“Doctors are going to have additional reporting requirements,” Porcaro explained.

He said doctors will have to submit forms which show 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.

Jonathan Ringel of the Daily Report added information to this version of the story, which first appeared in Corporate Counsel, an ALM affiliate.