Florida’s Department of Health has officially taken over adopting regulations for the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis expansion after lawmakers failed to come to a compromise on legislation earlier this month. The Sun-Sentinel reports that the agency on Thursday issued a “Notice of Regulation Development Procedure” which establishes the process the agency intends to use to implement the program.
The amendment approved by voters in November requires that the rules are drafted by July 3 and put into effect no later than Oct. 3. The constitutional amendment would expand the program to an estimated 420,000 Floridians, adding several chronic conditions, and allowing physicians the power to recommend medical cannabis for “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”
The plan put forth by Health Department officials will leave 15 days’ notice before adopting a new rule with a public comment period of three days.
Sen. Rob Bradley, who championed the state’s limited 2014 medical cannabis law, applauded the “department’s desire to remove any legal cloud” over a patient’s head but said he didn’t see them “doing anything bold.” He said the legislature could still act before the end of the year despite the session closing on May 8.
“The Legislature is going to be in Tallahassee no later than around 100 days from now, and possibly earlier if the governor vetoes all or a portion of the budget,” Bradley said in the report. “There are opportunities for the Legislature to deal with medical marijuana.”