A New Bill Could Make It Possible for Doctors In Florida To Write Medical Cannabis Prescriptions Over the Phone
Men’s medications for hair loss and erectile dysfunction can already be refilled through telehealth visits. This is because it’s easier to be discreet when you’re not there in person. A new law in Florida says that the same ways could be used to get prescriptions for medical cannabis without being seen or heard.
Spencer Roach (R-North Fort Myers) is the sponsor of House Bill 387, which would let doctors certify patients for medical cannabis through video calls like FaceTime, Skype, etc. instead of in-person visits. Roach told the House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee that the bill would “treat (medical marijuana) like any other medicine.”
Doctors in Florida are already doing it, so lawmakers said the bill would just make the practice legal. It would also make it easier to follow the rules. “The bill would give the department an important and quick way to help when doctors break the rules,” Roach said.
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Barry Gordon specializes in medical cannabis care in Venice, Florida. He told the House panel that getting certified through telehealth would help some of Florida’s sickest people, who need help the most.
Gordon said at the hearing, “It saves money for patients, it is safe for patients, and it is very important.” “You have to remember that sometimes our patients are the sickest and weakest people in Florida.”
The Tampa Bay Times says that more than 2,500 doctors in Florida have finished the training that lets them order medical marijuana for their patients. In 2016, voters said yes to a constitutional change that makes medical marijuana legal. So far, nearly 800,000 people have been approved to use medical cannabis.
At the moment, doctors have to do a physical exam of a patient “while physically in the same room with the patient” before they can give them a medical cannabis card and order it for them.
But not so fast. The bill would also let the Department of Health keep a doctor from ordering medical marijuana for up to two years if that doctor “provides, advertises, or markets telehealth services before July 1, 2023.”
During the 60-day legislative session, Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) put forward a similar bill.
Due to COVID-19, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lifted the state’s face-to-face requirement for medical cannabis, but only for patients who were renewing their medical cannabis certifications. People who want to see a new doctor can’t. The executive order signed by DeSantis ran out in 2021, but some doctors still use telehealth to recertify patients.
Cannabis for Medical Use In Florida
The Florida Department of Health recently announced that it will open a new round of licensing for medical marijuana businesses. This will double the number of vertically integrated cannabis businesses in the state. In an emergency rule, the health department said that 22 new licenses for medical marijuana businesses will be available.
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This means that there will be 44 businesses in Florida that are licensed to make and sell medical marijuana. More than six years have passed since Florida voters made it legal to use cannabis for medical purposes.
According to the Florida Division of Elections website, the WISE & Free Florida committee is trying to get home growing on the ballot in 2024. To do this, they would have to turn in 891,589 valid signatures on a petition.
Smart & Safe Florida wants to put an amendment on the ballot in 2024 that would make it legal for adults to use cannabis. As of Friday, 291,999 valid signatures had been turned in by the Smart & Safe Florida committee.