Hoping to make the Florida marijuana program more accessible and convenient to patients, a few interesting bills have been introduced for the 2022 Florida Senate Session. Below is a list of the related medical cannabis bills.
HB 679 /SB 1268: Cannabis Regulation
HB 679 amends cannabis regulation 381.986, F.S. allowing for telehealth on qualified patient renewals, extends the required 30-week physician renewal visit frequency to 34-weeks and the state annual Identification cards from a 1-year to 2-year term. The bill also will include requirements for hemp and hemp product registration, limit sales of the cannabinoids to those 21 years and older, limits advertising of medicinal cannabis, changes physician education coursework requirements and outlines economic interest limitations for medical marijuana testing laboratories. The bill is estimated to reduce patient costs by up to 60% and improve access.
The main 3 points directly affecting Florida medical marijuana patients include:
- For an initial certification, the examination must be a physical examination conducted while physically present in the same room as the patient. For a certification renewal, the examination may be conducted through telehealth under s. 456.47 only if such examination is conducted by the same qualified physician who conducted the examination for initial certification. If a patient changes his or her qualified physician, the new qualified physician must conduct an initial physical examination of the patient while physically present in the same room before conducting any examination through telehealth.
- A qualified physician must evaluate an existing qualified patient at least once every 34 weeks before issuing a new physician certification.
- The department shall issue medical marijuana use registry identification cards for qualified patients and caregivers who are residents of this state, which must be renewed every 2 years.
HB 1585 / SB 326: Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana
Amending s. 381.986, F.S. that requires the that qualified physicians be physically present in the same room as their patients when conducting an examination for physician certification for the medical use of marijuana.
SB 164 / H 333: Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana
Amending s. 381.986, F.S.; authorizing qualified physicians to perform patient examinations and evaluations through telehealth for renewals of physician certifications for the medical use of marijuana.
Note that in this bill for an initial certification, the examination must be a physical examination conducted while physically present in the same room as the patient. For a certification renewal, the examination may be conducted through telehealth as defined in s. 456.47.
SB 744: Medical Use of Marijuana by Out-of-state Visitors
Requiring the Department of Health to create a separate section in the medical marijuana use registry for short-term visitors; establishing criteria for short-term visitors from states that have legalized medical marijuana to receive authorization to possess medical marijuana and marijuana delivery devices in this state; authorizing short-term visitors registered in the medical marijuana use registry to purchase and receive a specified supply of marijuana for medical use from a medical marijuana treatment center in this state; requiring the department to immediately make available in the medical marijuana use registry the registration certificate of a short-term visitor; providing that a short-term visitor’s registration certificate serves as verification that he or she is authorized to possess, purchase, and use marijuana for medical use and possess and use marijuana delivery devices in this state, etc.
This bill grants visitors to Florida access to medical cannabis. A short-term visitor is:
“Short-term visitor” means a person who is a resident of another state that has legalized the medical use of marijuana, has a valid order for marijuana for medical use from a licensed physician in such state, is visiting this state for 30 or fewer consecutive days, and is authorized pursuant to paragraph (5)(c) to engage in the medical use of marijuana in this state.
SB 162: Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana
Florida Senate – 2022 SB 162
Introduced by Senator Brandes, Florida Senate – 2022 SB 162 changes the supply limits on regular patients to 52 weeks and veterans to 104 weeks.
An act relating to physician certifications for the medical use of marijuana; amending s. 381.986, F.S.; increasing the number of supply limits of marijuana a qualified physician may issue in a single physician certification for the medical use of marijuana; providing a higher supply limit for certain disabled qualified patients; revising the frequency with which qualified physicians must evaluate existing qualified patients for a physician certification for the medical use of marijuana; providing an effective date.
A qualified physician must evaluate an existing qualified patient at least once every 52 weeks, or at least once every 104 weeks if the qualified patient is a service-disabled veteran as defined in s. 295.187(3) or a totally and permanently disabled person as defined in s. 196.012(11)
SB 740: Medical Marijuana Patient Protection
This IMPORTANT bill provides that a qualified patient’s medical use of marijuana does not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify such patient from medical treatment or other medically approved therapies, etc. For patients who currently have a fear of adding medical marijuana to their treatment regimen due to the possibility of it disqualifying them from other medical care—this bill is introduced to remove that hesitation.
It is the intent of the Legislature to establish protections from discrimination for qualified patients using medical marijuana under s. 29, Article X of the State Constitution. It is inappropriate for these patients to be denied medical treatment, including organ transplants or pain management, or prevented from using other medically approved therapies because they have engaged in a therapy authorized by the constitution and laws of this state.
SB 556: Medical Marijuana Identification Cards for Service-disabled Veterans
This Bill introduced by Senator Cruz, removes the fees of Patient ID Cards for service-disabled veterans.
The Bill Reads:
An act relating to medical marijuana identification cards for service-disabled veterans; amending s.381.986, F.S.; prohibiting the Department of Health from charging a fee for the issuance, replacement, or renewal of an identification card for the medical use of marijuana for a service-disabled veteran or his or her caregiver if a specified form is included with the identification card application.
Although there is no guarantee that one or any bill presented during this year’s session will ultimately pass, it is positive to see medical cannabis is being identified as a positive tool for managing many symptoms and giving patients new options that they did have available to them prior. Regardless of if any of these bills pass or have to be reworked—we can expect big changes to the Florida Medical Marijuana Program as soon as this year.