Florida law permits qualified physicians to order low-THC cannabis or medical cannabis for patients diagnosed with certain medical conditions.
The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 provides that low‐THC cannabis can only be ordered by physicians licensed under Chapter 458 or Chapter 459 of Florida Statutes. Chapter 458 regulates medical practice or allopathic physicians, and Chapter 459 regulates osteopathic physicians. The law further states that before ordering low‐THC cannabis for use by a patient, the ordering physician must successfully complete an 8‐hour course offered by either the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. The course encompasses the clinical indications for the appropriate use of low‐THC cannabis, the appropriate delivery mechanisms, the contraindications for such use, as well as the relevant state and federal laws governing the ordering, dispensing, and possessing of this substance. The physician must successfully pass an examination upon completion of the course.
The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 states that in order to be qualified to obtain low‐THC cannabis:
1. The patient must be a permanent Florida resident.
2. If a patient is under the age of 18, a second physician must agree with the determination of need for the patient.
3. The patient must suffer from cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms; or symptoms of the same.
4. Other treatments must have been tried without success.
5. The ordering physician must determine the risks of using low‐THC cannabis are reasonable in light of the benefit to the patient.
6. The ordering physician must register the patient in the Compassionate Use Registry.
7. The ordering physician must maintain a patient treatment plan which outlines the dose, route of administration, planned duration, monitoring of the patient’s illness, and tolerance of the low‐ THC cannabis, and submit the plan to the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy, on a quarterly basis for research purposes.
Dispensing organization: An organization approved by the Florida Department of Health to cultivate, process, and dispense low‐THC cannabis pursuant to section 456.60 F.S.
Low‐THC cannabis: A plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10 percent cannabidiol weight for weight; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; or any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds or resin that is dispensed only from a dispensing organization.
Medical cannabis: If a patient is suffering from a condition determined to be terminal by two physicians, he or she may qualify for medical cannabis. This product can contain significant levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC and may produce the “high” commonly associated with cannabis.
Medical use: Administration of the ordered amount of low‐THC cannabis. The term does not include the possession, use or administration by smoking. The term also does not include the transfer of low‐THC cannabis to a person other than the qualified patient for whom it was ordered or the qualified patient’s legal representative on behalf of the qualified patient.
Qualified patient: A Florida resident with symptoms of cancer or a physical medical condition that chronically products symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms who has been added to the Compassionate Use Registry by a physician licensed under Chapter 458 or Chapter 459 to receive low‐THC cannabis from a dispensing organization.
Smoking: Burning or igniting a substance and inhaling the smoke. Smoking does not include the use of a vaporizer.