In the Sunshine State, the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, was overwhelmingly approved with 71% of the vote. Florida requires a 60% percent approval rate for constitutional amendments to be added, which it failed to receive in November 2014 for an earlier initiative of the same name. That makes this victory for MMJ twice as sweet. This expands the current law, which limits full-strength marijuana to the terminally ill, to include a broader scope of medical conditions.
The Florida Department of Health is the agency that oversees medical marijuana. The amendment goes into effect January 3, 2017, but the agency plans to begin writing legislation that day. Written regulations are to be put in place within six months from the effective date. We can’t forget, unfortunately, that Florida’s DOH took over two years to implement the 2014 limited medical cannabis program that was put into law.
Leaders of the state, Senate President Joe Negron (R) and House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R), think putting the MMJ governing rules in place is a low priority. Governor Rick Scott hasn’t had much to say on the topic. Last month’s post-election organizational session had neither politician mentioning MMJ until the press questioned it. We still have to wait until the legislative session, which doesn’t start until March 7th. So we need an implementation bill to be introduced so that lawmakers can pass it. Cannabis businesses will be able to proceed once the functionality of regulatory system has been established.