Florida Amendment 2: What it Means

Amendment 2 refers to the formal amendment that was placed before Florida voters in 2016 addressing the legalization of medical marijuana. Amendment 2 was not as all-encompassing as some other state amendments that have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

Yet, it did widen the scope of treatable illnesses as well as provide a mechanism in which marijuana could be prescribed for certain other non-listed conditions. As it stands, Amendment 2 specifically approved the following diseases for treatment with medical marijuana: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

In addition to these targeted diseases, Amendment 2 also included language that makes reference to certain other “debilitating” diseases for which medical marijuana could be prescribed. Consequently, Florida’s Amendment 2 vastly widened the scope of the state’s permissible medical marijuana uses.

The amendment was actually presented for a state-wide ballot in 2014 but it failed to garner the necessary 60% positive vote although it did gain a majority with some 57.62% at the time. As Amendment 2 was brought up for state-wide ballot again in 2016, it included several adjustments in order to appeal to an even wider segment of the population.

The amendment as presented in 2016 included a parental consent clause to ensure that underage individuals could not acquire a prescription without parental knowledge or support. Additionally, Amendment 2 also improved the description of what is meant by a “debilitating” condition and removed immunity for physicians found to engage in negligent prescribing of the drug. This particular clause means that physicians can be sued for medical malpractice as well as be criminally prosecuted for abusive prescriptions issued for medical marijuana.

Amendment 2 also contains certain procedural guidelines that the medical community must adhere to with respect to the prescribing of medical marijuana. Firstly, all patients that are targeted for medical marijuana prescriptions must be under the prescribing physician’s care for a period of 90 days prior to receiving the prescription. Secondly, physicians who wish to be able to prescribe medical marijuana are required to complete certain licensing courses and an examination.

Finally, the number of approved dispensaries is still very limited throughout the state with just a handful of organizations currently approved to do so. Presently, the officially approved dispensing organizations in Florida are: CHT Medical, The Green Solution, Trulieve, Surterra Therapeutics, Modern Health Concepts, Knox Medical and GrowHealthy. Amendment 2 ensures that the state health department maintains a fairly tight regulatory control over the industry within the state.