Florida is once again bringing back the online sales of medical cannabis that will undoubtedly provide a massive boost to the industry. A ruling by an administrative judge in Florida on Monday revealed that medical cannabis patients will soon be able to resume purchase of products online.
The decision came from Judge Suzanne Van Wyk after the Florida state regulators had put an end to patients purchasing online via services such as Leafly. As per CBS12, a local television station, the state officials mentioned that “the arrangements violate a state law banning operators from contracting for services directly related to the cultivation, processing and dispensing of cannabis.”
Florida-based medical marijuana operators severed ties with third-party online companies after the latter was admonished by the state’s Department of Health and threatened to impose a fine of $500,000 fine if the practice persisted.
CBS12 reported that the Department of Health handed down a memo saying that “the services were prohibited under a 2017 law that set up a structure for the Florida cannabis industry”. The law requires that medical marijuana manage all aspects of the business right from seed to sale which covers cultivation, processing, and dispensing of products rather than permitting companies to manage individual components of the cannabis trade.
However, Leafly argued that it was not involved in any activity pertaining to dispensing cannabis products as the company never accepted payment for distributing cannabis products to the patients.
Moreover, the company also filed a petition requesting the administrative law judge to find that the Florida Department of Health employed an invalid rule for concluding that the online services violated the law.
As per the facts reported by CBS12, Leafly had entered into a contract with 277 medical marijuana retailers in Florida. Though the judge did not go as far as studying the ban on the use of third-party sites, she immediately ordered the state agencies to discontinue reliance on its policy about online ordering of medical marijuana through third-party websites.
Curbside pickups and online orders have become commonplace for cannabis operators since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic with policymakers in various cities and states relaxing the restrictions to allow patients for acquiring their products safely.
The previous year, the Florida officials laid down emergency rules to allow physicians in the state to visit their patients and issue prescriptions remotely. The option was also extended to medical cannabis patients.
The voters in Florida also passed a ballot measure in 2016 that legalized medical marijuana treatment and the law has broadened its scope in the years that have followed. The previous year, the Florida Department of Health also announced new rules that permitted medical cannabis patients to acquire edible cannabis products such as candies, brownies, and others.
Florida Governor in 2019 passed a bill allowing medical cannabis patients to receive the treatment in smokable form. Efforts to legalize recreational pot use in Florida have yet to materialize though there are clear signs of budding political support. Democrats are vying currently for the party’s gubernatorial nomination in Florida and have even traded a barb recently that is more determined to end pot prohibition.
Charlie Crist, a former governor in the state said earlier this month that he would legalize marijuana in the Sunshine State if he was elected as governor again. This statement drew a strong response from the state’s agricultural commissioner, Nikki Fried who is also aiming to win the Democratic nomination for governor.
No matter what the scenario is, legalizing marijuana has become a major theme these days amongst the top states in the US.