In Florida, Democratic Representative Andrew Learned and Republican Representative Spencer Roach introduced House Bill 678, which seeks to amend the state’s hemp regulations and medical marijuana program, as reported in the Ganjapreneur.
“This is a true bipartisan effort to ensure patients have access to a safe medical marijuana program as demanded by an overwhelming majority of Florida voters in 2016. By putting common-sense safeguards in place to develop standards, increase transparency, and keep (medical marijuana) products away from children,” Roach said in a statement published in Florida Politics.
Rep. Roach, who represents Fort Myers, and Rep. Learned, who represents the city of Brandon, filed HB 678 in the Florida House of Representatives last Monday.
If signed, the bill will go into effect immediately and bring about a couple of changes. The state will increase the legal age of cannabis consumption to 21 years old.
The consumption guidelines also include synthetic cannabis products like Delta 8 THC. Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid found in hemp plants but has been loosely regulated. Some states banned Delta 8, whereas Texas has previously banned it, then declared it was legal again.
The bill proposes to cut an estimated 60% of the cost of participation in the state’s medical-marijuana program by increasing the time between required doctor visits and the terms of patient licenses for medical cannabis.
The new guidelines will bring changes to the medical marijuana patient recertification process.
Under certain conditions, physician appointments for recertification will be removed, allow recertification via telehealth (distanced physician consultation), create new industry testing requirements, increase the transparency of state regulations, and end the practice of selling medical cannabis dispensary licenses for monetary profit.
Clinicians who wish to prescribe medical marijuana in Florida must pay a $500 course. Under the proposal, the hours required to complete the course will increase from two to six hours. The course is also needed to renew the license to prescribe medical cannabis.
Cannabis-related advertisements that market to children will be banned under the bill. Physicians and dispensaries can still advertise online but only if it is not a pop-up ad and after the ads have been approved by Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
A new oversight committee, the Medical Marijuana Testing Advisory Council, will be created under the bill. The council will provide input on the state’s cannabis industry testing policies and standards. It will also report on ways to decrease cannabis-related car accidents and infractions.
If passed, it will make a significant step toward slowly introducing the legalization of recreational cannabis that people can enjoy in various smoking accessories.
With a vast population, Florida is one of the states where more than half of its residents favor legalizing recreational marijuana.