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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 Tedrow is a shareholder in the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group and serves as chair of the Cannabis & Controlled Substances Group. She brings years of experience handling an array of complex legal matters for multi-billion dollar valued companies and entrepreneurs alike.


With a significant portion of her practice devoted to land use and development, Tara regularly advises clients on entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office and mixed uses. She works with local governments and regulatory agencies 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.

Often sought out for high-profile and high-stakes land development projects, Tara has delivered positive outcomes for clients ranging from large multi-national and U.S.-based companies to high-net worth individuals seeking land use entitlements. With over 15 years of competitive debate experience, she is uniquely suited to handle complex and controversial projects and public hearings that present a myriad of political and legal challenges.

Well-known for providing legal and lobbying representation for a wide range of cannabis clients, Tara and her team work with physicians, lenders, real estate developers, landlords, ancillary service providers, banks, licensed adult use and medical marijuana companies, cultivators, processors, retailers and license applicants, helping them to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape of marijuana and hemp regulations. She also assists clients in the national hemp industry in obtaining licensing and approvals for processing, retailing, cultivation and other forms of secondary byproduct monetization. Her deep knowledge of regulatory laws and understanding of operations and logistics for cannabis companies, along with her ability to make connections and build partnerships, bring strategic value to her clients. 

Tara is the only person in the state of Florida 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 currently chairs. A prolific presenter and speaker at industry seminars and conferences, she has served as the keynote speaker on industry regulations at over 60 events in the past two years. In the fall of 2018, Tara became 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, where she continues to teach today.

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, she 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 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

Emmett Egger is an associate in the firm’s Real Estate Group. He assists clients with complex real estate development, finance and commercial leasing issues.


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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