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Some Florida MMJ Providers Are Selling Cannabis Despite Failure of Recent Legislation

The state legislature was unable to agree on a bill to expand the state's medical marijuana program.

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After the Florida legislature was unable to agree on a bill that would have expanded the state's medical marijuana program, canna-businesses have been left in legal grey area. Some businesses have been selling full-strength medical marijuana to registered patients, but some legal experts believe that these sales are not fully legal because the state has not yet put its regulatory framework in place.

“It’s amazing how clueless people are about what’s going on in Florida,” an anonymous source within the state's MMJ industry said. “It’s been legal for a while and everyone seems to be very surprised about it when they find out we’re selling marijuana here.” The source insists that these sales are legal, because voters approved an amendment last year that legalizes full-strength medical cannabis for a wider variety of patients.

However, some legal experts versed in cannabis law disagree, and assert that these sales are not legal until Florida finalizes its MMJ rules and regulations. “I know everybody wants to expand their business, but until these rules are adopted, it would seem to me questionable whether or not they could sell to patients for which the program has not been authorized,” Jeff Sharkey, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, said. “Some people think [the amendment] is self-actualizing. But it’s really not.”

Florida lawmakers recently attempted to pass a bill to guide the state's rulemaking process, but the state House and Senate were unable to reconcile two different versions of the bill by the end of the current legislative session. “On Day 60, they couldn’t strike a deal on some reasonable issues, so the whole thing fell apart,” said Ben Pollara of MMJ advocacy group Florida For Care.

Now that the bill has failed, the Florida Department of Health must write the rules that will govern the state's MMJ program. The deadline for the creation of these rules is July 3rd, after which the current legal grey area will hopefully be cleared up.

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