First Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Hawaii Gets Green Light From DOH

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 August 8, 2017, after waiting 17 years, Hawaii will begin dispensary sales of medical marijuana to patients. Maui Grown Therapies got the green light from the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to begin selling medical cannabis. I know (from reliable sources, that is) that Hawaiian grown marijuana has always been a favorite with the connoisseur.

Maui Grown Therapies.

The Maui dispensary has been pre-registering patients and will begin selling medical cannabis to patients by appointment only, said Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs. Walk-in sales will start in about a week.

In 2000, Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana. But the state didn’t legalize dispensaries until 2015, so the state’s 18,000 patients had to grow or obtain the drug on their own.

“This is an important day for qualified patients and caregivers on Maui who now have assurance the medical cannabis they purchase at Maui Grown Therapies has been thoroughly tested and is safe for them to use,” said Virginia Pressler, director of the state Department of Health, in a statement. “Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception.”

To read the press release from the DOH, click here.

To read more on the status of medical marijuana in Florida, click here to read my prior blog.

To learn more about how the attorneys of The Health Law Firm can assist you in legal matters involving medical marijuana, click here.

To stay on top of medical marijuana issues, be sure to check out our Medical Marijuana Law Blog regularly.

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.

Sources:

Bussewitz, Cathy. “FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY OPENING IN HAWAII.” The Associated Press. (August 8, 2017). Web.

Department of Health. “First dispensary receives approval from Department of Health to
begin sales of medical cannabis for Hawai‘i patients.” State of Hawaii, DOH. (August 8, 2017). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with 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 Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Medical marijuana legislation, medical marijuana defense attorney, legal representation for medical marijuana, legal representation for Department of Health issues, medical marijuana representation in Florida, Medical and recreational marijuana use, legal counsel for medical marijuana, marijuana defense attorney, complex health related business transactions, legal opinions on medical issues, legal representation for medical marijuana growers and distributors, legal counsel for medical marijuana, DOH defense attorney, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, The Health Law Firm reviews, Florida medical marijuana defense attorney, Board of Medicine defense lawyer, reviews of The Health Law Firm, access to medical marijuana in Florida, The Health Law Firm, legal representation for applicants of marijuana dispensary license, legal representation for marijuana dispensary medical directors, legal representation for contracts for marijuana related matters, legal representation for physicians and medical director agreements, legal representation for licensure and regulatory matters involving growers, legal representation for dispensaries and medical directors

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

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Cancer Patients Must Provide DOH Approval for Seizures and Muscle Spasms, or May Be Unqualified for Low-THC Medical Marijuana

6 Indest-2008-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Health Law

Barnhart v. Dep’t of Health, Div. Admin. Hearings, Case No. 15-1271RP (Final Order April 10, 2015).

Following is a summary of a recent Division of Administrative Hearings case summary, taken from The Florida Bar Administrative Law Section Newsletter, Vol. 36, No. 4 (June 2015).

FACTS: On February 6, 2015, the Department of Health (“DOH”) published a notice of proposed rule-making setting forth the text of six proposed rules to implement the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 (“the Act”). The Act provides in part that certain physicians treating patients suffering from cancer or a condition that chronically produces seizures or severe muscle spasms may order low-THC cannabis for those patients’ treatment.

The Petitioner filed a Petition asserting that one of the proposed rules (64-4.002) is an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority.  In support thereof, the Petitioner alleged that she is a four-year-old Florida resident diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and she treats her condition with medical cannabis extracts. The Petitioner further alleged that she plans to register with the Office of Compassionate Use Registry to become a “qualified patient” for the medical use of low THC cannabis.

The Petition also contained allegations regarding the harm that would result without an adopted rule. For instance, the Petition alleged there is a “desperate need for access to low THC cannabis” and that expedited rule promulgation was necessary because the “selected applicants will be responsible for ensuring access to ordered medication, with greater risk of public injury if there is no access to medicine.” The Petition also asserted that potential applicants eligible to become dispensing organizations would be harmed by the proposed rule’s “overly burdensome” application, scoring, and selection process.

OUTCOME: After affording Petitioner leave to file an amended Petition, the ALJ dismissed the Petition due to a lack of standing when Petitioner chose not to file an amended Petition.

The ALJ concluded the Petitioner’s allegations failed to demonstrate that she could become a “qualified patient” and thus potentially eligible for a physician’s order to receive low-THC cannabis.

The ALJ noted that while the Petitioner alleges that she has an inoperable brain tumor, she does not allege that her “condition falls within the narrow parameters of the Act, that is, that Petitioner has cancer or that Petitioner’s medical condition chronically causes seizures or muscle spasms.” Moreover, even if Petitioner had sufficiently alleged that she could be a “qualified patient,” the allegations were insufficient to show that Petitioner would suffer a real or sufficiently immediate injury in fact resulting from application of the proposed rule.

However, the ALJ rejected DOH’s argument that a “qualified patient” could never have standing to challenge proposed rule 64-4.002. While noting that the proposed rule only addresses the application requirements, scoring, and selection process for dispensing organizations, the ALJ concluded that qualified patient status, “when adequately alleged, might, hypothetically, be sufficient as part of the predicate for standing to challenge rules implementing the Act.”

Editor’s Notes on Case Summary:

This case demonstrates a common situation for many Florida residents who suffer from conditions like cancer: denial of medical marijuana. The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 states that in order to qualify for the cannabis, the patient must produce symptoms of seizure and persistent muscle spasms. If the patient is younger than 18 years of age, a second physician must concur the initial physician’s determination. In this case, 4-year-old Dahlia Barnhart, who suffers from a brain tumor, failed to demonstrate that her condition produces seizures and spasms, and therefore was denied low-THC. In court documents, you must allege that you are eligible for the physician’s order.

Comments?

Do you think that 4-year-old Dahlia Barnhart qualifies for medical marijuana? Do you have a chronic condition that was denied medical marijuana? 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

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: license, defense attorney, health law, health care attorney, health care lawyer, health investigation, medical license, Department of Health, DOH, health attorney, medical marijuana lawyer, medical cannabis, cannabis, marijuana, Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, THC, medical THC, health conditions, cancer, cancer patients, brain tumor, petitions, Florida, Office of Compassionate Use, ALJ, administrative law judge, physicians, Florida marijuana, administrative hearing, petition for rule challenge

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

“Eight Big Things to Watch” for Marijuana Policy in 2015-From Brookings Institution

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Health Law

Marijuana policy has increasing developed through the years. Today, twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana and four states have approved recreational marijuana, including DC. Below is a summary of The Brookings Institution article “Marijuana Policy in 2015: Eight Big Things to Watch.” During 2015, the country and foreign nations will see big changes involving marijuana policies.


1. New States are Planning and Preparing for Legal Marijuana

In November 2014, recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon and Alaska. During 2015, state legislatures in their respective state and alcohol regulatory bodies will work side by side to design regulations governing legal marijuana. It is important to watch what these states decide because it may determine whether the states marijuana policy will succeed or fail.

Oregon is making history by becoming the first state to border another who has already legalized marijuana. The border between Oregon and Washington will bring insight into what extent states will go for marijuana market advantages regarding bordering states.


2. Which States will be the next to Legalize Marijuana?

This year will show which states are taking steps to initiate ballots in 2016 to legalize marijuana. California and Florida are two of the states expected to advance an initiative, and other states are likely to follow their lead. Ballot initiatives are expensive, thus, to determine who is pushing follow the money.


3. State Legislatures and Marijuana

During the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana the difficult part of the process is getting it past the state legislature. Throughout 2015 it is important to determine which state legislatures have proposals involving marijuana policy and to keep track of their progress during legislative sessions. Some states, like Tennessee, may propose relaxing bans on hemp production, while others may seek to reaffirm legal bans on marijuana.


4. Marijuana in the Courts

During 2015, numerous high-profile lawsuits centered around marijuana policy are likely to be settled. The most recent decision is Coats v. Dish Network, a Colorado case in which a licensed medical marijuana user was let go after testing positive for the substance during a drug test at Dish Network. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Coats. The court held that employees who engage in medical marijuana use that is allowed by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by Colorado’s “lawful activities statute.” To read a past blog we published on the case Coats v. Dish Network, click here. To view Coats v. Dish Network in its entirety, click here.

Another case to look out for is Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado, in which the states claim that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana is violating federal law and causing problems in bordering states. The Supreme Court’s decision on the case will clarify the federal courts’ willingness to engage in this area of policy.


5. Clarifying DC’s Marijuana Policy

The future of Washington, DC’s marijuana policy will be determined by the federal courts. The court will need to clarify the policy’s future if there is congressional inaction on Initiative 71.


6. Continuation of Marijuana Policies in Colorado, Washington and Uruguay

Both Washington and Colorado are continuing to work on their recreational marijuana policies. Colorado is working through the issues of edibles, product testing, and home-grows. An important issue to watch is the challenge Washington faces in luring consumers away from the black market cost effectively. Overseas, Uruguay will continue to steadily work on a bureaucracy and consumer base for legal marijuana.


7. Current Marijuana Data is Imperfect and Incomplete

It is too early to make conclusive claims about recreational marijuana since there is not enough data. During 2015, and subsequent years, steady flows of data from Colorado and Washington will surface. This data will provide a better idea about the impact of legal recreational marijuana on society.


8. Marijuana as a Topic During the Presidential Campaign

Marijuana will definitely be a topic during the 2015 presidential campaign. Unlike most political issues, marijuana policy is not determined by political party. Thus, it will be interesting to hear the presidential candidates opinions during 2015 since it will be a big part of the campaign.


Comments:

What are your thoughts on the eight big things to watch in 2015? 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Source:

Hudak, John. “Marijuana Policy in 2015: Eight Big Things to Watch.” Brookings Institute. (January 8, 2015). From:
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2015/01/08-marijuana-policy-2015-things-to-watch-hudak


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 cannabis, medical marijuana, medical marijuana lawyer, medical marijuana license, defense attorney, defense lawyer, Charlotte’s Web, health lawyer, marijuana, recreational cannabis, recreational marijuana, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

Credit Union in Colorado Granted Charter: Will Serve the Marijuana Industry

4 Indest-2009-3By: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Health Law and Shelby Root

Marijuana businesses are flourishing in the four states that it is legal, including D.C., but are still finding it difficult to operate without access to a traditional banking system. In Denver, Colorado, that may all change if the credit union can get approval from the Federal Reserve. The Fourth Corner Credit Union was created to serve the marijuana industry, by creating a bank focused on offering a solution to the massive cash flow that these businesses bring to Colorado. The credit union was granted a charter on November 19, 2014, by Colorado’s banking regulators. However, it is still waiting for a master account number from the Federal Reserve to gain access to the country’s electronic banking system. Until it is granted that, Fourth Corner will remain empty with a “Coming Soon” banner above the front door.


The Fourth Corner Credit Union’s Business Model.

The Fourth Corner Credit Union will accept cash deposits and allow customers to make electronic transfers for payroll and rent, and to purchase supplies. To comply with state and federal rules, Fourth Corner will largely limit its operations to Colorado. Transactions will be approved by bankers who are keeping a close eye on where the money is transferring to ensure it is going towards the business and not redirected to cartels or gangs.

Any business or person with an interest in the marijuana industry will be eligible to join Fourth Corner, which organizers say will look like any other credit union.


The Difficulty in Running a Business without a Traditional Banking System.

The marijuana industry is popular in the states it is legal. Colorado has nearly 800 recreational marijuana shops, which brought in $38 million during February 2015. Without the use of a banking system businesses are unable to take credit cards, debit cards and checks. Thus, dealing in cash is the only way to operate the business. Handling enormous amounts of cash is not a small task, it is time-consuming, dangerous and costly. The owners are left to store cash in safes, tote in bags or boxes to the tax office and utility company, hand out in bundles on payday, and move it by armored vehicles and armed guards.


A Potential Reason for the Delay.

There is not a case of a state accredited financial institution being denied a master account. Usually, approval will come within weeks, but it has been nearly seven months and still no answer. Mark Mason, an attorney advising the credit unions’s founders, has a suggestion for a reason why the Federal Reserve may be wary of granting the account number. He believes that this will “legitimize the marijuana industry to the extent it’s never been.”


Blog Editor’s Comments:

One of the biggest legal problems that exist in states that have legalized marijuana is how to handle the money that is generated. Without access to federally regulated banks (which won’t touch such proceeds), it is difficult to pay taxes, purchase supplies, pay employees or run the business. This is a step in the right direction to remedy this problem.


Comments?

What are your thoughts on a credit union focused on the marijuana industry? 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:

Hughes, Trevor. “Colorado OKs Marijuana Credit Union.” USA Today. (December 8, 2014). From:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/08/colorado-oks-marijuana-credit-union/20056367/

Fox31 Denver. “Pot Problem: Banks Still Don’t Want This Cash.” (April 14, 2015). From:

http://kdvr.com/2015/04/14/pot-problem-banks-still-dont-want-this-cash/

Richtel, Matt. “The First Bank of Bud Marijuana Industry in Colorado, Eager for Its Own Bank, Waits on the Fed.” The New York Times. (February 5, 2015). From:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/business/marijuana-industry-in-colorado-eager-for-its-own-bank-waits-on-the-fed.html?_r=0


About the Authors:
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. Shelby Root is a summer associate at The Health Law Firm. She is a student at Barry University College of Law in Orlando.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

After Backlash, Office of Compassionate Use Rewrites Florida’s Medical Marijuana Rules

7 Indest-2008-4By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The devil is in the details. This is why state regulators went back to the drawing board to revamp the framework for Florida’s medical marijuana industry. On September 9, 2014, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) Office of Compassionate Use published a revised ruling governing everything medical marijuana: from stems and seeds to prescribing to patients. The latest version addresses issues regarding ownership rules on who can apply to be a medical marijuana dispenser in Florida.

Click here to read the updated bill.

The Office of Compassionate Use has until January 1, 2015, to come up with a finalized version of regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry.

Florida’s Current Law on Medical Marijuana.

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. The low-THC medical marijuana is expected to be ready in Florida by spring 2015.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Requirements and Changes.

Five dispensing organizations will be licensed to grow, process, and distribute the low-THC cannabis.

The law will require each dispensing organization to have a valid registration from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to cultivate more than 400,000 plants, be operated by a “nurseryman,” and have previously operated as a registered nursery in Florida for at least 30 continuous years. These rules were drafted in order to encourage nurseries that meet these criteria to become growers of medical marijuana and discourage non-nursery companies from buying into and controlling the industry for profits.

The previous proposed rule neglected to specifically address whether a nursery would be required to have a continued role in running a dispensary. Under the recent revisions, a nurseryman has to serve as an operator of a dispensary. The revised proposal requires a nursery to have at least 25 percent ownership of a dispensing organization licensed by the state. The rule also states that a nurseryman who owns 100 percent of his business could also be the sole owner of a dispensary.

The revisions require a 21-day notification period. Then a legislative committee must certify the new rules and the DOH will have to adopt them, which is another 20-day process. If all dates hold, the process will be done on November 4, 2014.

I query why such ridiculous requirements are even being proposed. Is it an attempt to award certain individuals by creating a monopoly in certain areas? Requiring patients to travel great distances to one of only five dispensaries in the state also seems to be an irrational requirement.

What About the Disputed Lottery?

The revised rule states that the Office of Compassionate Use decided to stick with the plan to use a lottery system to select dispensing organizations, which the state will eventually license. Health officials believe the process will minimize drawn-out litigation over contract awards that could delay getting medical marijuana to patients.

To read more on the revised rule, click here to read an article from Health News Florida.

Work in Progress.

With all the questions raised by the legislation, it is clear this framework for Florida’s medical marijuana industry is still a work in progress. There is still a lot of red tape to go through to get a functional business model approved for dispensing businesses. While state health officials sort out many lingering details, physicians and dispensaries alike are speculating and preparing for Florida’s medical marijuana industry. Don’t go the unknown road alone. It’s in your best interested to contact an attorney if you plan to have a hand in any part of Florida’s medical marijuana industry.

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.

Sources:

Kam, Dara. “Regulators Take Another Shot at Pot Rule.” Health News Florida. (September 10, 2014). From: http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/regulators-take-another-shot-pot-rule

Galka, Matt. “Revisions Being Made to Non-Euphoric Medical Marijuana Law.” News 4 Jax. (September 10, 2014). From: http://www.news4jax.com/news/revisions-being-made-to-noneuphoric-medical-marijuana-law/27987260

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.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2017 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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.

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