Medical marijuana advocates demand ID backlog solutions

By Troy Kinsey, Capitol Bureau Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 01, 2017, 1:01 PM EDT

Medical Marijuana advocates, frustrated with the delays in getting state-issued identification cards out to patients, are demanding solutions from state lawmakers.

  • Medical marijuana ID backlog affecting thousands
  • Advocates say lawmakers filing bills, but want more immediate action
  • Some lawmakers blame medical marijuana czar

The Florida Medical Marijuana Business Association says some lawmakers are working on bills to address the issue, including one that would let patients who haven't gotten their cards yet get prescriptions filled without them, at least temporarily.

But the state legislature doesn't meet until January.

Jeff Sharkey with MMBA would like to see wants to see action taken sooner.

"There's a possibility the governor could order an emergency rule to allow that to happen," Sharkey said. "I'm certain that the legislature, in dialogue with the Department of Health, said, 'Listen, we'll move this quickly; we'll do something that will authorize you to do this and not be penalized.' I think they all want to do it."

Thousands of medical marijuana patients are still waiting for the state-issued ID, required to get the drug from dispensaries. 

It's taken some patients as long as three months to get their ID.

Some lawmakers are furious about the way Christian Bax, Gov. Rick Scott's medical marijuana czar, has been handling the rollout. They're skeptical of his claims that lawsuits are holding up the process, including a new suit challenging a deal to have a private printer take over the ID cards.