Florida Health Department Criticized for Not Adhering to New Medical Marijuana Law

Florida Health Department Criticized for Not Adhering to New Medical Marijuana Law

Florida’s medical marijuana program is still a work in progress and certain businesses and advocates are getting impatient to see the health department accomplish more. John Morgan and Florida For Care worked tirelessly to get Amendment 2 on the ballot almost a year ago, which over 70% of Florida voters approved for medical marijuana legalization.

Patients that have seen certified Florida medical marijuana physicians and been approved to get a medical marijuana card are waiting up to three months to officially receive their card. It is not surprising that their is some frustrations, and now Florida For Care is pressuring the health department even more with a list of complaints about what they have not accomplished. Do you think Florida is being unduly criticized for its efforts towards medical marijuana?

Florida For Care, the pro medical marijuana group that led the successful campaign in Florida’s 2016 election, is criticizing the state health department for not creating the standards required by the new law.

Among their complaints:

Create testing standards
-License independent marijuana testing labs
-Create edible regulations
-Create dosing regulations
-Create a statewide seed to sale tracking program
-Approve/disapprove pesticides
-Approve/disapprove solvents
-Approve/disapprove contaminants

We checked with the DOH and they listed what they have accomplished since the passage of Senate Bill 8A, the enabling legislation passed in late July after the public vote.

-Granted seven Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses to existing Dispensing Organizations.
-Approved five new MMTCs and commenced cultivation authorization inspections.
-Issued a Request for Quotes (RFQ) related to MMTC application grading.
-Established an OMMU organizational structure for 28 initial FTEs as well as the 27 FTEs held in reserve by SB-8A.
-Developed position descriptions, class codes and pay bands for each new OMMU position.
-Assembled screening and interview teams that have begun establishing positions and hiring candidates.
-Developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Statewide Seed-to-Sale Tracking.
-Developed and issued an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for Medical Marijuana Identification Card outsourcing and commenced negotiations with vendors.
-Engaged Moffitt Cancer Center regarding their requirements under SB 8-A and is currently working toward finalizing an agreement with the organization.
-Established a contract with the University of Florida to fulfill the research requirement for the education component of SB 8-A.

The state health department reported that there are currently 44,164 patients and 1,066 doctors involved in medical marijuana. The department has issued 21,873 cards to date.

It currently takes approximately 30 days to process a paper application. If an application is incomplete, it has to be sent back to the applicant for them to correct it.

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