2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

In June 2021, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in favor of preserving the state’s existing rules requiring cannabis operators to be vertically integrated. The decision heavily favors the state’s largest operators who can afford to fund an expensive vertical operation at scale.

Florida’s COVID emergency provisions were allowed to expire at the end of June 2021. This means that telehealth services for renewals and curbside pickup at dispensaries are no longer available for Florida’s patients. This will impact access for thousands of Florida patients who have to renew their registration every 7 months. ASA recommends both extending the length of patient registrations and reinstating the COVID emergency telehealth measure.

Florida’s medical cannabis program saw an explosion of patient registrations as enrollment nearly doubled. With over 258,474 registrations since our last report, it was the largest burst of growth among all states in terms of individual registrations. Florida is now one of only two states with more than half a million registered cannabis patients.

Florida has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to protecting patient civil rights. First, patients should not face discriminatory roadside sobriety testing. As it stands there are no existing protectins in the law against discrimination by employers, we recommend these protections are extended to all employees in all fields. The state currently prohibits landlords from unfairly denying patients housing or evicting them solely based on status but allows landlords to prohibit specific behaviors within the lease. Housing protections should be so robust as to allow the patient to medicate in the comfort of their own home. For the purposes of medical procedures and organ transplants, cannabis must be treated as any other prescription medication. Finally, parental rights of any kind should not be denied based on a person’s status as a patient.