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In 2014, Florida enacted SB 1030, which created a registry ID card system that would allow patients with cancer, seizure disorders, or severe or persistent muscle spasms to possess and use only cannabis products rich in CBD and low in THC. SB 1030 also established a state licensing system for dispensaries, where patients can obtain legal access. In 2016, the Florida legislature passed HB 307, which expanded the program to terminally ill patients and allowed dispensing organizations to produce products with higher levels of THC than were previously allowed. That same year Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which amended the state constitution to create a comprehensive medical cannabis program with significantly expanded qualifying conditions.
In a 2017, emergency session the legislature passed SB 8A, which provides a framework for patients to access cannabis more quickly. Rules for implementing SB 8A were promulgated by the Florida Department of Health in July of 2017. Stripped from Amendment 2 was language permitting the inhalation of cannabis from the burning of cannabis flower, however a 2018 county court decision and subsequent 2019 state legislative activity culminated in the state authorized smoking of cannabis.
In 2019, the Florida 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that the forced-vertical integration language of 2016’s Amendment 2 is unconstitutional; however, when the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in May of 2020, they reversed the decision. The COVID emergency measures adopted during 2020, included declaring cannabis businesses essential, authorizing use of telehealth visits for program registration renewals, and both curbside pick-up and delivery.
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