New Florida Bill Looks to Overhaul the Medical Cannabis Program and Regulate Delta-8 THC
Lawmakers in Florida recently introduced a bill that would effectively regulate delta-8 THC, as well as cause significant changes to the state’s medical cannabis program.
The Florida bill is a measure that seeks to place stringent limits on delta-8 THC and its availability across the state. Regarding the medical cannabis program, the bill aims to change the existing order of things from top to bottom. It proposes a new cannabis regulatory agency to oversee the affairs of the industry, and it also suggests new regulations and rules to prevent dispensary permits from being sold for profit.
The bill has been described as a significant update to the state’s five-year-old medical cannabis statute. Voters approved the existing reforms in 2016, and it has not been modified. Rep Andrew Learned (D) and Rep Spencer Roach ( R ) are cosponsors of the bill. No lawmakers believe that strict limits need to be placed on the accepted THC levels of synthetic psychoactive substances like delta-8 THC. They are also of the opinion that the state’s medical cannabis legislation needs a total overhaul.
In a discussion with Florida Politics, the lawmakers explained that they are working to make sure medical cannabis patients have better access to the drugs at more cost-friendly prices. The changes in the law would deliver a significant price reduction on all cannabis-based medical products. This means that the program itself would be more user-friendly and also guarantee the patient’s safety.
The proposed bill also dictates that go products should only be sold to individuals aged 21 and older. This includes all delta-8 products designed for consumption.
In addition to the above, the bill seeks to increase the requirements for medical cannabis licenses. It will also cut out about 60% of the cost of patients’ participation in the cannabis program by increasing the time between essential doctor appointments. If this bill is passed, more patients will have access to physicians for prescriptions.
In addition, patients who are due for recertification will not be required to see a physician. It would also allow patients to be issued new permits via telehealth, make the state regulations more transparent, and it would put a stop to the practice of giving out medical cannabis dispensary licenses for monetary gains.
The bill makes provisions for new industry testing requirements, and plans to make the required course for physicians more comprehensive. Registered physicians in Florida need to complete the course to become authorized to prescribe medical cannabis to certified patients. For starters, the bill proposes that the duration of the course be tripled from two to six hours.
Regarding advert bans, the bill proposes that the standing ban on cannabis-related adverts which target children or underaged young adults be maintained. The modification is that physicians and dispensaries would advertise on social platforms and web pages. However, each ad’s content has to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services before it can be uploaded. Another criteria for these ads is that they should not be pop-up ads nor promote adult-use cannabis in any form.
A new agency would be established with the provisions included in the measure. The agency, the medical marijuana testing advisory council, would be committed to testing all—products industrially for each and every proximate parameter. The agency will routinely provide input on suitable and standard policies for the cannabis Industry.
Each year, the council would be tasked with delivering a report which gives the best recommendations on how to move the industry forward. This annual report will prevent cannabis-related traffic accidents. The cosponsors of the bill also believe that the annual report from this agency would suggest efficient ways to implement drug-free workplace policies, as well as testing standards
Finally, the bill would prevent dispensaries and residents with at least 5% or more of the voting share of a center from hiring a doctor or even having any financial plans about a doctor’s practice, cannabis testing lab, and other outlaw testing laboratories. It will ensure that the workers, administrators, officers, and other employees with an edge over others do not have any sort of interest, either direct or indirect, in the economic or financial situation in a dispensary.
Ever since the bill was introduced some days ago, it has garnered mixed reactions from business owners and residents across the state. Legal Delta 9 THC is quite tricky to purchase, and many have been making do with Delta-8 THC, only to have the lawmakers propose to take that also.
Some people understand that Reps Roach and Andrew introduced this new bill to clean up the excesses in the industry while making it as professional as it can be. Others do not.
Michael Jones, a vape shop owner at downtown Fort Myers, said he supports the bill’s contents. It mainly raises the age of customers who can request Delta-8 products (The drug would no longer be sold to anyone under 21 in Florida). Being a business owner that sells certain Delta 8 products, it is clear that new policies would affect Entrepreneurs like Jones from a financial standpoint.
According to jones, it is better to have a respected and professional industry long-term, and that’s the stability the new bill proposes.
On the other hand, people like Eli Joyce, owner of sunshine cannabis, say it is better for the government to focus on providing more access to the industry rather than putting up more restricting regulations. To Joyce, the bill is a government’s concealed effort to prevent access to the medical marijuana industry.
At least 16 states have banned or restricted the indiscriminate use/Purchase of Delta-8 products and other synthetic substances.
Delta-8 is growing in popularity; hence, this is the right time for the Floridian Government to regulate the drug. The other proposed changes are also big deals. Making the medical marijuana program easier to attend, cheaper, and more accessible for many patients will do a lot of good.