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News & Knowledge

FL School Districts Still Lack Clarity on Medical Marijuana Policies

January 08, 2020

By: Tara Tedrow, Andrew Kelly & Emmett Egger

Florida’s medical marijuana market has been wrought with legal and political battles since its inception. Implementing the state’s medical marijuana policies has presented questions for many organizations, including local school districts and parents of patients. Since 2018, Florida has adopted a statute requiring that all school districts adopt some form of medical marijuana policy permitting students who are qualified medical marijuana patients to be administered their medication at school. Despite this mandate, as of December 2019, only 47% of Florida school districts have adopted such a policy, and over 30 school districts still fail to address this issue in their respective policies and procedures.

Furthermore, many of the schools which have adopted medical marijuana policies do not allow qualified patients to actually use their physician recommended medical marijuana on campus. The Sumter County School District, for example, adopted a policy which prohibits the use of medical marijuana on campus, stating that all use by qualified patients must be off school grounds and facilities. Sumter County has cited the conflict between state and federal law regarding the legality of medical marijuana as the primary reason behind this policy.  

Sumter County, however, is not alone in its concern regarding the conflict between State and Federal law. Despite adopting a medical marijuana policy which allows primary caregivers to administer the medication to qualified students on campus, Miami-Dade County has indicated that should this policy jeopardize any federal funding for the district, it will be immediately suspended.

As of January 3, 2020, the state’s Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use reported that statewide, there were 299,044 qualified patients with an active patient ID card. As the medical marijuana patient base continues to expand, school districts which have yet to revise or adopt policies in accordance with F.S. 1006.062 should address this issue in order to provide clarity to students, caregivers and parents. Parents of qualified patients should also familiarize themselves with their school district’s policies in order to ensure that any medical marijuana medication is administered in full compliance therewith.

Tara

Tara is a shareholder in the firm’s Real Estate Transactions, Development, Land Use, Zoning & Environmental practices. Tara’s practice focuses on land use and development, as she assists clients statewide on entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office, and mixed uses. Tara works with local governments and other regulatory authorities in order to address the needs of her clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, site plan approval, variance and waiver requests, due diligence, and property rights. Additionally, Tara is the Chair of the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Group, where Tara assists clients in complex regulated industries such as alcoholic beverage, hemp and marijuana licensing. On the alcoholic beverage side, Tara offers additional value to clients throughout Florida in the hospitality, restaurant and entertainment industries through her experience with alcoholic beverage licensure and Florida’s alcoholic beverage laws. On the cannabis side, Tara works with physicians, lenders, real estate developers, landlords, ancillary service providers, licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, cultivators, processors, retailers and license applicants, helping them to navigate the ever changing regulatory landscape of marijuana and hemp regulations. Tara is a regular presenter and speaker at industry seminars and conferences. As of the fall of 2018, Tara was the first professor in the state of Florida to teach a law school course on marijuana law and policy at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Tara also assists clients in the national hemp industry in obtaining licensing and approvals for processing, retailing, cultivation and other forms of secondary byproduct monetization. She is the only person in the state to be appointed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to both the inaugural Industrial Hemp Advisory Council created under Senate Bill 1020 and to the state’s Hemp Advisory Committee, which she Chairs.

Prior to joining the firm, Tara worked as a legal extern for the University of Florida General Counsel and Office of the Vice President as well as for the Orlando Juvenile Public Defenders Office. For over a decade, Tara has also worked professionally as a private speech and debate coach and taught at multiple national debate institutes, including the National Debate Forum at Emerson University, the National Symposium for Debate at Grinnell College and Victory Briefs Institute at UCLA.

Tara Tedrow is a contributing writer at the Orlando Sentinel and has spoken about various real estate topics on Fox News.

Andrew

Andrew is an associate in the firm’s Real Estate Group. In this role, Andrew focuses his legal practice on real estate development, finance and transactions, condominiums, property owners’ associations, commercial leasing, commercial lending, and title insurance.

Emmett

They say sports helps to build character and that’s exactly what happened to Emmett who works in the firm’s Real Estate Group. Having played tennis since the young age of 6, Emmett has gained a tremendous amount of discipline, focus, and determination which helps him work on complex real estate development, finance, and commercial leasing issues for clients and gain top results. In addition to serving as the captain of the men’s tennis team and as a member on the Student Athlete Advisory Council at University of Washington, Emmett qualified as the number one junior tennis player in the nation and a participant in all four junior majors (Australian, French, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open).

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