- The Florida Department of Health allocated an additional $6.2 million for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) in its legislative budget request for the next fiscal year
- The OMMU made the request under the expectation that patient activity will proliferate next year
- The funding will be used to hire 31 new full-time employees as well as the subsidization of contracted work
Following a stated expectation of increased patient activity, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) included an additional $6.2 million for the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) in its legislative budget request for the coming fiscal year.
Half of the money would be used to hire 31 extra employees for its Tallahassee headquarters and new regional offices, as first reported by Florida Politics.
The rest is expected to subsidize expenses related to contracted work such as legal consultation, seed-to-sale monitoring, patient documentation services, and license evaluation.
“The increase in active patients, caregivers, and licensed [sellers] creates an increase in demand for OMMU staffing resources, stated the OMMU’s request. “The OMMU has identified additional areas of critical need necessary to support the current workforce. The expansion of the OMMU’s regulatory footprint anticipated next fiscal year requires additional inspectors and administrative staff to support the OMMU headquarters and expansion of regional offices.”
The request additionally states that the OMMU performed workload assessments based on the estimated time to perform specific job-related tasks for the requested positions using the Legislative Budget Request (LBR) standard of 1,854 annual work hours per full-time equivalent.
Florida officials set a THC dosage limit on medical marijuana in August, imposing a 70-day total supply limit of 24,500 mg of THC for non-smokable marijuana and caps on consumables like edibles and gummies.
The rule also carries out a state law that imposed a 2.5-ounce limit on smokable marijuana purchases over a 35-day period.
The dose and supply limitations occur nearly six years after Florida voters enacted a constitutional amendment comprehensively legalizing medicinal marijuana.
When lawmakers established the structure for the medical marijuana system, they provided the Department of Health the power to implement restrictions using emergency rules, which can be issued without seeking public feedback
The ruling led Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried to publicly criticize the action, calling it “irresponsible” in a letter to Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo.
Fried claimed that the sudden ruling imposed “severe harm” on Florida’s 700,000 medical cannabis patients, calling it an attempt to circumvent the will of the American people, further claiming that the rule would not have passed had the state sought out opinions from licensed medical providers and advisors.
“Medical cannabis is medicine and I hope that the Department Of Health and Office of Medical Marijuana Use 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,” wrote Fried.