DeSantis signs measure allowing telehealth option for medical marijuana renewals
Physicians will still have to conduct in-person exams before approving patients for medical marijuana. But it will allow physicians to use telehealth for renew approvals.
Patients will be allowed to use telehealth to renew physician approvals for medical marijuana, under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The bill (HB 387) also could help Black farmers get valuable medical marijuana licenses after years of delays.
Under the measure, physicians will still have to conduct in-person exams before approving patients for medical marijuana. But it will allow physicians to use telehealth visits for exams needed to renew approvals, an option that supporters say will increase patient access to medical marijuana treatment.
Many patients have been diagnosed with serious medical conditions that make it difficult for them to travel to doctors’ offices.
“I’m thrilled. It’s a great win for patients,” Dr. Barry Gordon, a Venice-based physician who specializes in medical marijuana, told The News Service of Florida after DeSantis signed the bill.
The measure also seeks to address a controversy about medical marijuana licenses for Black farmers.
A 2017 law that provided an overall framework for the medical marijuana industry required health officials to issue a license to a Black farmer who was a “recognized class member” in class-action lawsuits over lending discrimination by the federal government — known as the “Pigford” litigation.
But the Florida Department of Health did not choose a Black farmer for the license until September 2022, when it selected Suwannee County farmer Terry Donnell Gwinn. The decision to award a license to Gwinn has been challenged in court, and the license has not been issued.
The bill could lead to the Department of Health issuing a license to Gwinn and possibly other applicants, based on certain criteria.