ORLANDO, Fla. —According to the Miami New Times,Florida is closer than ever to legalizing recreational, adult-use marijuana. That's according to State Sen. Randolph Bracy and State Rep. Michael Grieco, who have introduced new measures aimed at placing the legalization of recreational pot in voters' hands in the November 2020 general election.
Recent studies demonstrated that the first states to legalize marijuana have experienced a rise in car insurance claims.
Collision claims are the most frequent claims insurers receive. Collision coverage insures against physical damage to a driver’s vehicle in a crash with an object or other vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault. The number of unknowns surrounding the gradual legalization of marijuana across the U.S. far outweighs what insurers currently understand about this enterprise. For an industry that relies heavily on actuarial data to assess risk, this new venture provides little information on which to base coverage decisions or risk management strategies.
As an example, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all 50 states and D.C., but determining impairment is challenging. Unlike alcohol, the amount of marijuana in a body doesn’t consistently relate to impairment. A positive test for THC (the primary component of cannabis) doesn’t mean the driver was impaired at the time of the crash. Habitual users may have positive tests for THC days or weeks after using the drug.
Current marijuana laws in Florida (March 20 update)
Possession of small amounts is illegal: Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Sale or delivery qualifies as a felony: Sale or delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, or other specified area is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000. The sale of 25 pounds or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, the delivery of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Medical marijuana permitted: An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from one or more of the following conditions:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above.
Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification.
Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by a qualifying medical condition or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that qualifying medical condition.
Patients can purchase marijuana from registered marijuana dispensaries, called Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs).
On March 18, 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 186 into law, repealing the ban on smoking medical cannabis. It means that now patients and their doctors have greater access to administer medical cannabis and to decide for themselves which mode of administration is best for them.
According to SHRM, if you have employees with disabilities who have started a treatment with medical cannabis, it is important to know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state laws require employers to enter into discussions with workers with disabilities to determine if reasonable accommodations can be provided so such workers can perform the essential functions of their job.
Also, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and accompanying state laws allow qualified employees with serious health conditions to take time off for medical treatment. And the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires federal contractors and grantees to guarantee drug-free workplaces as a condition of receiving government contracts or grants.
Although medical marijuana use is not covered under the ADA or FMLA, and all marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, courts across the country are now being asked to decide whether medical marijuana use should be accommodated under state law.