It seems as though the issue of legalizing medical marijuana in Florida is constantly in the news. Last month, I wrote an article on the Jacksonville lawyers website about about a Jacksonville law firm claiming that medical marijuana is legal. The claim is based on the medical necessity defense. I stated it before, and I will say it again. You do not want to be caught in possession of marijuana relying on the defense that you need it due to medical reasons. More than likely, you will still be arrested. You will still need to hire a Jacksonville criminal lawyer to defend you against the Florida drug charge. You do not want to put yourself in this position. That being said, medical cannabis could become legal in Florida. As you may recall, the issue of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes was on the ballot last November. While the majority of voters supported the proposed amendment, this was not enough to pass the constitutional amendment under Florida law. This does not mean that that the debate is over and that medical marijuana will never be legal in the state of Florida. Look at Georgia.
WSB-TV in Atlanta GA reported that “Governor Nathan Deal has made medical marijuana legal in Georgia.” He signed the bill allowing the use of cannabis oil, under certain circumstances, for the following medical conditions:
- Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries.
- Multiple Sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage.
- Crohn’s Disease
- Mitochondrial Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage.
- Sickle Cell Disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage.
This does not mean that all medical marijuana is legal in Georgia. “State health officials say doctors will have to sign off and submit required forms.” The news article further stated:
“The Department of Public Health will be working with law enforcement to make sure the system is secure and that officers know what to look for when they come across a patient possessing the oil…. Approved Georgia patients will be allowed to possess 20 ounces of the low THC oil at any given time. THC is the chemical in marijuana that causes a high. It is still illegal to grow marijuana in Georgia, meaning families will have to transport the drug from states like Colorado.”
How will this affect Florida’s marijuana laws? Technically, Georgia and Florida are each their own sovereign states. The laws in one state do not control the other state. That being said, I would think that Florida’s legislature would use the laws of other states as examples for Florida’s laws. A day before the Georgia medical marijuana article was released, WFSU reported that the Florida House of Representatives was involved in a heated debate over the use of medical cannabis for terminally-ill patients:
“Rep. Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) presented the House floor with a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to use experimental medications as treatment. Pilon says the measure would also cover liability concerns…. The drugs must be identified in at least the first phase of FDA testing. And Pilon says Florida would be the 12th state to approve the measure…. But things got tense when Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) attempted to amend the bill to add medical cannabis as an option for terminally-ill patients. Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) sponsored a bill at the start of session that sought to legalize certain kinds of medical marijuana for suffering patients. The measure was filed jointly with Representative Greg Steube who said patients could use marijuana only if it is not smoked. But Wood says Gaetz’ amendment is an overreach…. And although Gaetz withdrew the medical cannabis clause, marijuana legislation could still see the light before the end of session. A bill to reform the state’s low-THC cannabis law was temporarily postponed on the Senate floor Wednesday.”