Legislation permanently allowing medical marijuana telehealth consultation goes up in smoke

Cbd Concept, Medical Marijuana, cannabis and blue background
The legislation aimed to make it easier to keep the THC in ‘healthcare.’

Twin bills making permanent pandemic-era rules that made it easier for medical marijuana patients to renew their use registry cards have gone to pot, to put it bluntly.

Joint legislation (SB 164 and HB 333) by St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes and Pensacola Rep. Jayer Williamson, both Republicans, aimed to change current statutes governing Florida’s medical marijuana program.

Under the proposed change, patients would still have to receive an in-person consultation with a physician before receiving their medical marijuana certification. From then on, keeping it would be anything but high maintenance, requiring only that patients meet with their prescribing physician by video chat, over the phone or through direct messaging like text and email.

Had it passed, the proposed measure would have become law July 1.

But unfortunately for those seeking an easier route to continued reefer gladness, the 2022 Session was a buzzkill.

Neither of the bills received a committee hearing. The window for the bills to pass has all but closed. And with pot-friendly Brandes reaching term limits later this year, medical marijuana users whose telehealth hopes were left high and dry will have to wait until 2023 for someone else to take up the cause.

On March 16, 2020, as COVID-19 bore down on the Sunshine State, former Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued an emergency order allowing existing medical cannabis patients to renew their certifications remotely.

The order, which was extended through June 2021, also OK’d telehealth for scheduled narcotics, including hydrocodone, morphine, Valium and Xanax.

Because Brandes and Williamson’s bills were stand-alone measures not part of other telehealth legislation, some observers predicted they would have a hard time advancing.

Ron Watson, a lobbyist for Sarasota-based medical cannabis company Altmed, told Florida Politics in October the legislation “has a long way to go in this environment.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Anthony Pitti

    March 11, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Once again the Florida legislature only looks to pass laws that their radial right base care about, not the laws that actually help Floridians.I can only hope that the majority of Floridians feel the same as me come November!

    • Jeff

      March 15, 2022 at 7:28 pm

      Radical right? If that was true, MM would still be illegal in Fl. But I do agree that those legislators that have denied the majority the same rights that other meds do have, then out they go. I’m tired of playing games with the tyrants who are not serving the people. Fu*k party lines. They work for the American people, not a party.

  • Randy E Cheatham

    March 16, 2022 at 6:23 am

    The radical right couldn’t stop med cannabis because the people put it on the ballots and voted it in. Then the right has foght it since even this month changing how the people can put such things on the ballot in the future. Jeb Bush changed the amount of petitons people needed to put it on the ballots raiseing the bar and now this.

Comments are closed.


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