Florida Department of Health discussing medical marijuana rule change

Posted at 8:14 AM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 08:14:02-05

Representatives from Florida’s Department of Health are in Tampa Wednesday talking about a rule change to the new medical marijuana laws.

This is regarding Amendment 2, which was approved during last November’s election. However, state officials still have six months to finalize the framework before it is implemented.

Medical marijuana supporters are concerned this most recent change might compromise what the amendment was intended to do.

BEHIND THE SCENES | The making of medical marijuana in Florida

The purpose of Amendment 2 was to allow medical marijuana to help people suffering from debilitating diseases that were not covered under the previous medical marijuana law in Florida.

Conditions like Crohn’s, Parkinsons, and epilepsy were included. Other conditions would be allowed, if a physician saw them as treatable.

Now the Department of Health wants the state’s Board of Medicine to make that decision instead of the patient’s doctor.

“From my perspective the DOH is clearly violating the intent of Amendment 2, the plain language of Amendment 2, the intent of the drafters of the Amendment and the voters of Florida,” Michael Minardi, an attorney and medical marijuana advocate, told us Tuesday.

Minardi adds he thinks it’s a move by the state to prevent access.

Renee Petro, a mother who’s son would qualify for medical marijuana treatment under Amendment 2, feels this is wasting time. 

“This needs to be between the doctor and patient it needs to be done correctly and it is up to the Department of Health to do this in a timely manner because people are going to continue to do it illegally or die.”

We reached out to the Department of Health for an explanation on why that rule is being changed. They said it’s not a violation and that language in the amendment is allowing them to define rules and regulations within the first six months of 2017.