This November, 71 percent of Florida residents voted to pass Amendment 2, a law that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. In 2014, the state passed “Charlotte’s Web”, a bill allowing the use of a low level THC marijuana strain to be used in the treatment of patients with epilepsy, cancer, chronic seizures and chronic muscle spasms. Over the last year, that law expanded to include patients suffering from terminal illnesses. Florida medical marijuana laws have now expanded again with the passing of Amendment 2 as the new law has legalized stronger marijuana and now also covers patients with HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, PTSD and all terminal illness.
In the Wake of Charlotte’s Web
Officials now have 6 months to create the rules and regulations for the Florida medical marijuana laws. These will allow the state to set up the infrastructure of the new industry. Given that Charlotte’s Web has already made officials go through this process, it should be an easier task. Once the rules and regulations have been put in place, officials will have 9 months to implement the new Florida medical marijuana laws. According to a recent study conducted by Arcview Market Research and New Frontier Data, it would appear that Florida may make over $1 billion in medical cannabis sales by 2019. They are estimated to make more than Colorado within 4 years.
The Rigorous Path to the Patient Registry List
The process for obtaining medical marijuana will be a little harder than many may be perceiving. Patients will have to be in the care of a licensed doctor who has completed the prerequisite marijuana treatment training for at 90 days before they will be eligible to be on the registry. They must have looked into all other options for treatment first. Lastly they will also need a second opinion from another physician before finally being placed on the patient registry. Currently, there are only 340 licensed doctors in the state but this number is expected to increase quite rapidly. The full list of doctors will be posted on the Florida Department of Health’s website along with all relevant information.
Civic Adjustments to the New Florida Medical Marijuana Laws
The Florida medical marijuana laws go into effect today and 5 of the 7 licensed marijuana distribution organizations have been given the authority to dispense medical marijuana to people who are already registered as patients. While there are currently dispensaries open in Tallahassee, Clearwater and Tampa, 55 Florida cities have either banned or greatly restricted dispensaries in their area. 8 more cities are contemplating joining this number. Most of these bans are simply in place temporarily, while officials create the rules and regulations. After this point they are expected to be lifted.
It would seem that soon enough, all the infrastructure will be set for Florida’s medical marijuana market and patients in need will soon have access to the plant. Florida was 1 of 4 states to legalize medical marijuana in November, bringing the total number of states that have legalized medical marijuana up to 28, plus Washington D.C. The Florida laws are strict but they are designed to help those who need it most of all.