Updates to Florida's Medical Marijuana Laws

All across Florida, medical marijuana laws are facing potential change, or have already been modified. In late March 2016, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 307 to add medical cannabis to the “Right to Try Act”. Terminally ill patients who do not respond to traditional medicines and pharmaceuticals can now agree to use experimental cannabis-based drugs, whether or not they have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, to attempt to alleviate their symptoms. HB 307 will also remove some regulatory blocks that had previously stopped children suffering from severe epilepsy from using low-THC cannabis oils to control their seizures in both frequency and intensity.

While HB 307 is certainly an impressive step in the right direction for medical marijuana supporters, Amendment 2 is actually getting more attention and buzz. In November, Floridians will get the chance to decide if medical marijuana should be legalized for treatment of certain conditions, as outlined in Amendment 2. If approved, the state would get involved with production oversight, distribution centers, medical marijuana identification card requirements, and other certifications.

Amendment 2 is not the first of its kind, however. In November 2014, a nearly identical piece of legislation was on the ballot and was a hair’s width away from passing; it received 58% of the vote but Florida law requires amendments to achieve 60% “supermajority” to be accepted. Medical marijuana supporters are hopeful that Amendment 2 will easily pass now that people have had more time to review and understand how cannabis can help people with chronic diseases but do not want to take dangerous pharmaceuticals.

Local Legislation Also Changing

Statewide alterations may be on the horizon for medical marijuana but the drug is also seeing changes in localized counties. In late March 2016, just around the time of HB 307’s signing, Tampa’s mayor, Mr. Buckhorn, signed an ordinance that encourages the decriminalization of marijuana possession in small amounts. The law lets police officers decide if they want to issue an arrest or a citation when they encounter someone with less than 20 grams of marijuana in their possession. Tampa is just one of many cities and counties that have created similar ordinances.

While the laws are still changing regarding marijuana use and possession, the people of Florida must remain aware of their rights when faced with drug crime accusations. If you have been arrested for carrying a small amount of marijuana, you might be able to defend yourself from the charges and clear your good name. To begin your case, contact Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. and our Jacksonville drug crime attorneys can help you.

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