What is Amendment 2?

Amendment 2 is Florida’s medical marijuana law, which was approved by 71% of Florida voters on November 8, 2016. It added a new section to Florida’s state Constitution,[1] entitled “Medical marijuana production, possession and use.” Amendment 2 protects qualifying patients, caregivers, physicians, and medical marijuana dispensaries and their staff from criminal prosecutions or civil sanctions under Florida law (but not under federal law).

How do I become a patient?

In order to become a qualifying patient, a person must get a physician’s certification from a Florida doctor and be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. (Minors must also have written permission from a parent or guardian.) A patient can then obtain the required ID card. The Health Department is required to begin issuing ID cards within nine months.

Debilitating medical conditions are: “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.” In other words, if a condition is about as serious as those listed and the patient’s doctor believes marijuana may benefit the patient, they may qualify.

How do I become a caregiver?

Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and will probably have to submit to a background check. They may be limited in the number of patients they can assist. Caregivers must obtain an ID card from the Department of Health. 

What are the requirements for physicians?

A doctor issuing a certification must first examine the patient and assess their medical history. The certification must state that the patient’s medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks and for how long the physician recommends the medical use of marijuana for the patient.

Where can patients obtain medical marijuana?

The Florida Department of Health will register and regulate dispensaries, which are called “medical marijuana treatment centers,” that can produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes. The number and location of these centers is unknown and will be determined by the Department of Health.

When will patients be able to buy medical marijuana?

There are several things that must happen before dispensaries can open. First, the Department of Health will have six months to write regulations to govern the program, which will be subject to public comment. It will also determine how to license dispensaries. Then, businesses will apply, go through a selection, licensing, and inspection process, and begin growing marijuana. Finally, dispensaries will be able to sell medical marijuana to patients. Based on experiences in other states, MPP estimates that it will be approximately a year before medical marijuana becomes available to patients.

What types of medical marijuana products will be available?

Unlike under current law, we do not expect there to be an arbitrary cap on the amount of THC that is allowed in the medical marijuana available to patients. Amendment 2 contemplates a variety of medical marijuana products, such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, and ointments. Products will be tested in accordance with regulations created by the health department.

How much medical marijuana can a patient possess?

The health department will determine how much will be “presumed to be an adequate supply,” but this presumption can be overcome if a patient can show that they need more.

How can I open a medical marijuana business?

The process is unknown at this time but will be determined by the health department.

Can patients grow their own marijuana?


What doesn’t Amendment 2 do?

Amendment 2 does not: change the laws prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana or require that employers and educational institutions allow patients to use medical marijuana at the workplace or on school grounds. Amendment 2 does not allow patients to smoke marijuana in public.

It also does not change federal law, which totally prohibits marijuana possession and distribution. While Congress and the Department of Justice have set policies to prevent enforcement action from being taken against those complying with certain medical marijuana laws, the conflicting federal policy has created issues with banking and with patients’ ability to purchase and perhaps possess guns.

[1] The new section is Article X, Section 29.