Florida Reinstates Pre-Pandemic Medical Cannabis Restrictions
When millions of Floridians were stuck at home for the better part of a year, watching the world fall apart, they have plenty of time to speculate about how the world could, or should, be different once it became safe to venture out again. Even introverts came to appreciate the human connection you get from sharing a meal with friends, but there are plenty of parts of pre-pandemic life we don’t miss. If it is possible to be productive while working from home, who needs rush hour traffic and uncomfortable work shoes? So many of the rules we had been following seemed nonsensical, not least among them Florida’s arbitrary and inconsistent cannabis policies. As in some other Southern states, Florida’s lawmakers seem determined to keep laws on the books that say, “drugs are bad, and marijuana is a drug” and to enforce them when they feel like it. During the pandemic, it became necessary to focus on what was really necessary, such as ensuring that everyone had access to food and medical care. For the first time, physicians could legally recommend patients for Florida’s medical cannabis program, but that emergency measure expires on June 26. This could leave thousands of patients in legal limbo when their medical cannabis certifications expire. If you are facing criminal charges for obtaining cannabis through simpler means that do not require you to jump through lots of hoops, contact a Central Florida drug crimes defense lawyer.
How Florida’s Medical Cannabis Program Works
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, so physicians cannot prescribe it; they can only legally certify that a patient has a qualifying medical condition that enables them to get a medical cannabis card. Patients must renew their certifications every seven months. Before the pandemic, this always required an in-person visit at a doctor’s office. During the pandemic, temporary emergency laws enabled doctors to renew certifications and certify new patients through telemedicine.
Medical Cannabis in Post-Pandemic Florida
During the pandemic, demand for medical cannabis skyrocketed; the number of patients enrolled in the program increased 76 percent to 576,000. Many of the new patients had not enrolled before because of lack of access to physicians who could provide a certification, including homebound patients and those in rural areas, far from a prescribing physician. What will happen when, over the next seven months, their medical cannabis certifications expire? If they try to buy cannabis, will law enforcement target them simply because of their inability to comply with a system that places undue burdens on vulnerable patients? If you or someone in your family is in this situation, a drug crimes defense lawyer can help.
Contact an Attorney for Help Today
You are a patient, not a criminal, and a Florida drug crime defense lawyer can help you stand up for your rights if police are unfairly targeting you for using medical cannabis, which the law makes difficult to obtain legally. Contact FL Drug Defense Group for help today.