Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried is fighting back on the state’s recently implemented dosing and supply caps for medical cannabis patients.
Fried issued a letter to Joseph A. Ladapo, Ph.D., Florida’s surgeon general, who oversees the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and its Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) Sept. 8, requesting for officials to revoke the dosing restrictions outlined in an emergency rule released Aug. 26.
“I have serious concerns regarding the manner of which this emergency rule was put forward, which appears to have lacked any opportunity for meaningful input by those most impacted by them–patients and the doctors treating them,” Fried said in the letter. “Unveiling a rule cutting the allowable preparations and extracts dosages by 69.4 percent with less than three days’ notice is not just thoughtless, it’s irresponsible. It has caused chaos, confusion, and rightful panic among patients and providers.”
The emergency rule, which went into effect Aug. 29, states that patients may not purchase more than 24,500 mg of THC of non-smokable cannabis products within 70 days and no more than 2.5 ounces of smokable products within 35 days, Cannabis Business Times reported.
The emergency rule also included daily dose THC limits per product, which are as follows:
Route of Administration Daily Dose Amount Edibles 60 mg THC Inhalation (e.g., vaporization) 350 mg THC Oral (e.g., capsules, tinctures) 200 mg THC Sublingual (e.g., sublingual tinctures) 190 mg THC Suppository 195 mg THC Topical (e.g., creams) 150 mg THC Marijuana in a form for smoking 2.025 grams
Fried said that by implementing such caps, the state is overriding doctors’ professional judgment and endangering patients’ health. She added, “Many patients require the ability to purchase a higher dosage in multiple forms in order to test combinations and find the best balance to treat their particular condition in consultation with their doctor. The state has no business inserting itself into nuanced decisions being made between patients and their health care providers.”
Fried also referenced how other similar amendments failed in the past because legislatures recognized that such legislation does not protect patients’ health. She added that she doesn’t think this rule would have been enacted if officials had consulted with medical providers and patient advocates first.
“Unfortunately, this is just one of many troubling actions–or inactions as it pertains to the years-long failure to issue the Pigford Class license–when it comes to the DeSantis Administration’s management of Florida’s medical cannabis program,” Fried said. (Florida law earmarked the “Pigford” license for a Black farmer, according to Florida NPR member station WUSF.) “Medical cannabis is medicine, and I hope that DOH and OMMU will reverse these harmful restrictions and instead, work to improve the program in a way that puts patients and equity first and that provides patients and providers with a seat at the table when decisions impacting their care are being discussed.”