Florida Lifts Ban on Smoking Marijuana
Smoking medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill on Monday lifting a ban enacted in 2017 on smokable cannabis products.
“Over 70% of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016 and today I signed SB182 ‘Medical Use of Marijuana’ into law. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld,” DeSantis tweeted. “Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
While the new law is effective immediately, cannabis flower and other smokable products most likely won’t be available until this summer. The Florida Department of Health must create guidelines for physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.
Under the new law, medical marijuana patients wishing to smoke cannabis flower must sign an informed consent form acknowledging the health risks associated with smoking. Smoking in public spaces or at private businesses subject to a cigarette smoking ban is prohibited.
Patients under the age of 18 are prohibited from smoking marijuana unless the patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness and receives a second recommendation from a pediatrician.
Qualified medical marijuana patients can buy up to a 210-day supply at a time, which amounts to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 35 days.
Florida has nearly 200,000 registered medical marijuana patients, and the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries expect to see an increase in sales in the tens of millions. Marijuana Business Daily estimated that medical marijuana in Florida earned $200 million-$300 million in 2018. Comparably, in 2017, medical marijuana sales were at $20 million-$40 million.
Florida sets a cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate, but that rule is likely to be challenged. According to the Florida Department of Health, 85% of the state’s 107 dispensaries are operated by just five businesses.
In 2016, voters in Florida approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana. Florida’s former governor, Rick Scott, signed a bill in 2017 banning smokable medical marijuana.