On Monday, March 18th, Governor Ron DeSantis officially ended the state of Florida’s ban on smoking cannabis for medical marijuana patients. There has been much rejoicing by advocates and patients alike, and the news cycle has been inundated by reports with headlines like “Smoking Medical Marijuana Is Now Legal in Florida”.
While we do have a freshly changed law, this doesn’t mean patients can expect to walk into a dispensary and purchase whole flower with the intent to smoke.
The law now mandates Qualified Physicians (doctors that recommend medical marijuana to patients) must complete several steps within the Medical Marijuana Use Registry in order for patients to be able to purchase and use whole flower cannabis for smoking.
When ordering smokable flower as a route, your doctor must enter the following into the Registry:
- A list of other routes of administration (inhalation, oral, topical, rectal), if any, the patient has tried along with the length of time these routes were used. An assessment of the effectiveness of those other routes in treating the patient’s qualifying condition must be made.
- Research documenting the effectiveness of smoking as a route of administration to treat similarly situated patients with the same qualifying condition.
- A statement signed by the Qualified Physician documenting the physician’s opinion that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks for the patient.
The law also requires an update to the 7-page mandated informed consent form that must be signed by each patient for each certification. Language must now be included in this form that speaks to the dangers, from a health perspective, of smoking cannabis.
The steps above are decently straightforward for placing a smokable flower order for patients, but every provider and patient in the state must now wait for the Department of Health to make the changes required within the Medical Marijuana Use Registry and the informed consent form. In an email sent to physicians Monday evening, the Department states, “the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine’s Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana will be considering amendments to the existing informed consent form at the Board of Medicine’s April 4th meeting.”
Until the Department makes these minimal changes, no Qualified Physician in the state may recommend smokable cannabis as a route of administration and, consequently, no dispensary may sell smokable flower over the counter to legal patients without the proper physician recommendation.
While the state is charged with the rulemaking process, it is still recommended that patients with interest in being able to purchase smokable cannabis begin the process to become legal now. Medicann Clinic has plenty of availability in our North Port office, and we will always go the extra mile to help our patients achieve their individualized health goals by utilizing whichever form of cannabis they desire.