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The Law Office of Paul Bernardini

Can I get Medical Marijuana in Florida?

Medical marijuana is now available in Florida, however, it remains illegal under federal law.

According to the Florida Department of Health, in Florida, there is a difference between CBD, low-THC cannabis, and medical marijuana. Medical marijuana can contain significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the chemical compound that causes the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.

First, Florida did not legalize recreational use of marijuana. And, Florida law differentiates between an order for low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana. You can be charged with a crime if you have not met the requirements of a 'Qualifying Patient'. Florida Medical Marijuana laws require that, at a minimum, you must be diagnosed with a qualifying condition, be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician, obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card, and be a Florida resident or a seasonal resident.

And, even if you are legally allowed to use low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana, you can not use it just anywhere. Know the law so you do not end up with criminal charges. As of January 7, 2019, you can not use or administer medical marijuana in the following locations in Florida:
  • On any form of public transportation, except for low-THC cannabis.
  • In any public place, except for low-THC cannabis.
  • In a qualified patient’s place of employment, except when permitted by his or her employer.
  • In a state correctional institution.
  • On the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school.
  • In a school bus, a vehicle, an aircraft, or a motorboat, except for low-THC cannabis.
These are just a few of the restrictions. Some have exceptions and the list may change, so check the Florida statutes for the latest updates.

As always, this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments.

Medical Malpractice Cap Declared Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of Florida voted in favor of the ordinary person in the case of Estate of Michelle Evette McCall v. United State of America. In this case, decided March 13, 2014, the Supreme Court of Florida held that the statutory maximum cap on non-economic damages set forth in Florida Statute 766.118 (Medical Negligence) violates the right to equal protection under Article 1, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution and is therefore invalid. Accordingly, the limit on wrongful death non-economic damages in medical malpractice actions set forth in Florida Statute 766.118 is held to be unconstitutional under Florida Law.

In this interesting case, the Supreme Court of Florida also notes certain truths which you may not know if you watch television programs, most of which are sponsored by insurance companies.

First, the Supreme Court of Florida discussed whether or not there is a shortage of doctors in Florida. Testimony at the hearings provided by both the Department of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Administration and various other people was that at the present time, there are, in fact, more doctors licensed to practice in Florida today then there were five years ago. Further, applications to the medical schools in the state of Florida are up and have been consistently for the past number of years. Emergency rooms have not been closing as a result of medical malpractice. As a matter of fact, the Department of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Administration both testified under oath that they could not cite any incidents where because of the medical malpractice crisis, patients were denied some type of care or directed some place else. The reports of physician departures in Florida were anecdotal, not extensive, and in some cases were determined to be inaccurate. For example, State Medical Society officials told the committee that Collier and Lee Counties lost all of their neurosurgeons due to malpractice concerns. However, the study found at least five neurosurgeons currently practicing in each county as of April 2003. Provider groups also reported that malpractice pressures have recently made it difficult for Florida to recruit or retain physicians of any type. However, over the past two years, the number of new medical licenses issued has increased and physicians per capita has remained unchanged. This is from the government accounting office. An article titled “Medical Malpractice: Implications of Rising Premiums on Access to Health Care, No. GAO-03-836 (August 2003).” Moreover, the Supreme Court of Florida noticed that for those doctors who are leaving Florida or who have left Florida, there was no concrete evidence to demonstrate that high malpractice premiums were the cause of the departure. The entire case can be found at 39 FLW S110 (March 14, 2014).

In any event, after evaluating the current information, the Supreme Court of Florida concluded there was no rational basis existing to justify continued application of the limit on non-economic damages under Florida Statute 766.118.

Medical Marijuana

Recent case from the Florida Supreme Court.

In an advisory opinion to the Attorney General, the Florida Supreme Court held that a proposed constitutional amendment, which would allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain "debilitating" medical conditions, satisfied the single-subject requirement of article XI, section 3, of the Florida Constitution. The Court further held that the ballot title and summary satisfy the requirements of section 101.161(1) and accurately convey the limited use of marijuana, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, that would be authorized by the amendment consistent with its intent. Finally, the Court ruled the Financial Impact Statement was in compliance with section 100.371(5), Florida Statutes (2013). The proposed amendment and Financial Impact Statement were approved for placement on the ballot. ADVISORY OPINION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL RE: USE OF MARIJUANA FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS. Opinion Filed January 27, 2014. Full Opinion at Supreme Court Opinions Section, page 45a.