How Would Legal Medical Marijuana Work in Florida?

The arguments surrounding the legalization of medical marijuana have heated up after the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled to let voters decide on the issue in the upcoming November elections. A Miami Herald poll shows roughly 70 percent of Floridians are in favor of legalizing pot for medicinal use. With such overwhelming support for this move, many are now asking questions about the logistics of legalized medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

On January 28, 2014, the Tampa Bay Times published, "Questions and answers about medical marijuana in Florida," offering a glimpse into how medical marijuana would work should the amendment pass with the 60 percent of votes required.

If passed, the amendment would take effect January 6, 2015. The Florida Department of Health would have nine months to start giving out ID cards to eligible individuals. Patients would have to show a valid doctor's certificate to receive an ID card from the Department of Health.

Only licensed Florida doctors would be able to issue certificates for medical marijuana use. They would likely focus on patients with certain conditions or diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and others. Doctors would perform examinations and assessments before authorizing the medicinal use of pot. However, since marijuana is not on the list of FDA-approved medicines, doctors would not be able to write prescriptions for it. Rather, patients would receive it over the counter, similar to an herb or other type of supplement.

If the amendment passes, growing pot in one's own home would still be illegal. Only state-licensed Medical Treatment Centers would be allowed to dispense medical marijuana, based upon the amount the Department of Health would deem reasonable for that individual.

In addition, restrictions similar to those on cigarette smoking could apply to medical marijuana smokers, limiting where they can light up. Also, medical marijuana would not offer drivers additional protection under Florida law. Any individuals caught operating a vehicle while under the influence of medical marijuana would still be cited with a DUI.

If you are facing charges for a drug offense or any other type of crime, our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyers at Taylor & Waldrop Attorneys can help. With more than 40 years of combined experience, we can fight to protect your rights and freedoms. Contact us today!

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