Medical Mary Jane memorandum

OKEECHOBEE — Green, tree, flower, weed, herb, sensimilla, pot, bud, mota, ganja, wacky-tabacky and snicklefritz. The preceding collection of words are terms that have been associated with what is also, medically and scientifically, known as cannabis or commonly dubbed marijuana, two additional terms that have been ascribed a legal definition by the State of Florida.

The FDOH has put out the following information to assist those patients seeking medical marijuana as a method of treatment.

Steps to Treatment:

1) Patients must first be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
It is the responsibility of the qualified ordering physician to follow Florida constitution and statute, diagnose patients and determine if medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment.
Qualifying conditions include:
• A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification
• AIDS
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Lou Gehrig’s disease
• Cancer
• Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition
• Crohn’s disease
• Epilepsy Glaucoma
• HIV
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Parkinson’s disease
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above

2) Patients and their caregivers will then be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by their Qualified Physician.
Once you have been entered into the Registry, your physician will provide you with your Patient ID Number. You will need this to apply for your required Registry Identification Card.

Remember to provide your physician with your email address to receive important updates!

To apply for a card the FDOH accepts applications from patients and legal representatives.

Patients must be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by a qualified physician to receive a card. Applications may be submitted online through the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, or mailed to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. All applications must include a registration fee of $75. To maintain an active Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card, a patient and/or legal representative must annually submit a renewal application, along with the application fee and any required accompanying documents to the department forty-five (45) days prior to the card expiration date. Requests to replace a lost or stolen card will require the card-holder to submit a Change, Replacement or Surrender Request Form, along with a copy of his or her Florida driver’s license or identification card and a $15 replacement fee.

3) Patients and their Caregivers will then apply for their Registry Identification Card.
Patients and caregivers may complete an electronic or paper identification application. For step by step instructions and other resources, please visit the Registry Identification Cards page.

Payments and paper ID Card Applications should be mailed to:
Office of Medical Marijuana Use
PO Box 31313
Tampa, FL 33631-3313

4) Fill your order at one of the licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.

Once your identification card application has been approved, you will then be able to contact one of the licensed medical marijuana treatment centers and fill the order.

Patients and caregivers may only fill orders for medical marijuana with one of the state’s approved medical marijuana treatment centers. Medical marijuana treatment centers may deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers. If you do not have a medical marijuana treatment center in your city, you can still fill your order by contacting a medical marijuana treatment center and arranging for a delivery.

For contact information of the currently licensed medical marijuana treatment centers, please visit the Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers page. If you have questions or need assistance, please call: (800) 808-9580.

Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) Dispensing Locations:

Medical marijuana treatment centers may deliver medical marijuana products to patients.

Please contact a medical marijuana treatment center directly to fill an order for medical marijuana. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use does not dispense medical marijuana.

The Office of Medical Marijuana Use is committed to working hand-in-hand with law enforcement throughout the implementation of section 381.986, F.S. (medical use of marijuana) and Amendment 2.

The Medical Marijuana Use Registry is a secure, electronic, and online database for the registration of ordering physicians and qualified patients, and their orders. It is accessible to ordering physicians, law enforcement, medical marijuana treatment center staff, and Office of Medical Marijuana Use staff.

Florida law only allows the licensed dispensing organizations to grow, process and dispense marijuana. The FDOH will refer any business or individual suspected of violating state law to local law enforcement for investigation. It is important to remember marijuana is illegal under federal law. Okeechobee County currently does not have a medical marijuana treatment center. The nearest treatment center is Liberty Health Sciences located at 10941 U.S. Highway 1 in Port St. Lucie although the FDOH is currently in the process of rule-making and is not accepting applications for MMTCs at this time.

In order to qualify to order medical marijuana for patients, a physician must have an active, unrestricted license as a physician under Chapter 458, F.S., (medical practice) or osteopathic physician under Chapter 459, F.S. (osteopathic medicine) Physicians who meet the requirements may gain access to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry after completing the required course and examination provided by the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. Successful completion of the course is required each time a physician renews his or her license.

Two physicians in Okeechobee County are authorized to order low-THC cannabis, medical marijuana or cannabis delivery devices. Dr. Ramesh Kumar, 1115 North Parrott Avenue, 863-467-9500 and Dr. Muhammad Syed, 2257 U.S. 441 North, 863-824-3480.

Confidentiality: Pursuant to s. 381.987, F.S. (public records exemption for personal identifying information relating to medical marijuana held by the department) the department allows access to confidential and exempt information in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry to law enforcement agencies that are investigating a violation of law regarding marijuana in which the subject of the investigation claims an exception established under s. 381.986, F.S. A person who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a felony of the third degree.

Training: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement offers medical marijuana training to all members of law enforcement pursuant to s. 381.986, F.S. Officers can access the Medical Marijuana in Florida: A Law Enforcement Reference Guide through CJNET.

Master Users: It is recommended that each law enforcement organization assign a Master User for their organization. Master Users have the ability to create and manage additional user accounts within their organizations.

A ruling was handed down by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal (DCA) in a lawsuit initiated by Orlando trial attorney John Morgan and others who maintain that a Florida law barring patients from smoking their treatment is in conflict with the 2016 constitutional amendment. The appeals court reportedly lambasted Leon County Circuit Judge, Karen Gievers, who sided with patients, saying plaintiffs likely won’t win on the merits of the case and refused to allow smokable medical marijuana while the legal battle ensues.

On May 25, Judge Gievers agreed with Morgan and plaintiffs in the case. Two hours after the ruling, the state appealed, which led to the appellate panel issuing a five-page decision that effectively blocked Judge Gievers’ ruling while the case continues.

“I respect the 1st DCA immensely, but no matter what, this goes to the Supreme Court, so why not now,” Morgan said in an email. “It is just a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Cathy Jordan may die as this snails its way through the system. All of this proves why people don’t trust politicians. They know what they voted for.” Morgan has called on Governor Rick Scott multiple times to drop the state’s appeal.

Cathy Jordan, a plaintiff in the case, reportedly credited a daily regimen of smoking marijuana with keeping her alive decades after doctors predicted she would die from ALS.

“It just makes my life a lot more, um, bearable,” said Jordan. Diana Dodson, an HIV patient since 1991 testified, “It was about 50 percent less effective and you had to ingest quite a bit more,” speaking in regards to the effectiveness of vaping or using oils in comparison to smoking.

Judge Gievers said the Florida legislature had no authority to prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana because it is allowed in the state constitution. The constitution simply says it cannot be done in public. Attorney Jon Mills argued that means it can be smoked in private. “We submit that is enough to declare the statute unconstitutional,” Mills told the court.

Judge Gievers dismissed the health concerns raised by a state expert. Senior Assistant Attorney General, Karen Brodeen pushed the state’s case. “In fact, the FDA has not approved any medicine to be delivered through a smoking form,” she told the court.

State health officials, who answer directly to Gov. Scott immediately appealed Judge Gievers’ ruling. On June 5, Judge Gievers lifted the stay, saying Jordan and Dodson would suffer without having access to smokable marijuana.

Appellate judges Joseph Lewis, Lori Rowe and M. Kemmerly Thomas found that the plaintiffs “failed to demonstrate that they will suffer irreparable harm if the automatic stay is reinstated.” Noting that a trial court may vacate an automatic stay only “under the most compelling circumstances,” the judges also scolded Judge Gievers, saying, “it was an abuse of direction for the circuit court” to lift the stay.

The panel of judges wrote, “Here, after the panel’s preliminary review of the wording of the medical marijuana amendment and the statute prohibiting the use of medical marijuana in a smokable form, we conclude the appellees (the plaintiffs) have not sufficiently demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits as required to justify vacating the automatic stay.”

The appellate court panel of judges also rejected a request to rush the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

Definition of Terms

It is relevant to get a few terms defined before continuing with the above information presented by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).

According to 2018 Florida State Statutes:

“Cannabis” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin. The term does not include “marijuana,” as defined in s. 381.986, F.S. (medical use of marijuana).

“Marijuana” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin, including low-THC cannabis, which are dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient.

“Low-THC cannabis” means a plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain 0.8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than 10 percent of 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 from a medical marijuana treatment center.

“Marijuana delivery device” means an object used, intended for use, or designed for use in preparing, storing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the human body, and which is dispensed from a medical marijuana treatment center for medical use by a qualified patient.

“Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification. The term does not include:

• Possession, use, or administration of marijuana that was not purchased or acquired from a medical marijuana treatment center

• Possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking, in the form of commercially produced food items other than edibles, or of marijuana seeds or flower, except for flower in a sealed, tamper-proof receptacle for vaping

• Use or administration of any form or amount of marijuana in a manner that is inconsistent with the qualified physician’s directions or physician certification

• Transfer of marijuana to a person other than the qualified patient for whom it was authorized or the qualified patient’s caregiver on behalf of the qualified patient.

• Use or administration of marijuana in the following locations: On any form of public transportation, except for low-THC cannabis; In any public place, except for low-THC cannabis; In a qualified patient’s place of employment, except when permitted by his or her employer; In a state correctional institution, as defined in s. 944.02, or a correctional institution, as defined in s. 944.241; On the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school, except as provided in s. 1006.062 (administration of medication and provision of medical services by district school board personnel); In a school bus, a vehicle, an aircraft, or a motorboat, except for low-THC cannabis.

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