For the past few years, the people of Florida have been fighting to put a legal marijuana system up in place that would take care of the needs of the many in the state who would benefit from using medical marijuana. Unfortunately, restrictions keep passing that prevent the healthy implementation of a system that would serve everybody. In 2014 and 2016, 2 very restrictive medical marijuana laws passed that allowed low THC marijuana to be made available to a restricted amount of patients and a higher dose for those who were terminally ill. In November of 2016 however, Amendment 2 passed, allowing a much more patient friendly marijuana law to be implemented.
Further Obstacles to Florida’s Medical Marijuana
With 71 percent of Florida residents voting this bill into law, it would seem that an overwhelming amount of people see the benefits that full strength medical marijuana can have for so many people. Unfortunately, there may be yet more delays on Florida residents having full access to the medical marijuana program that they want. The House Quality Subcommittee approved a measure that was sponsored by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues that would once again halt the progress of medical marijuana in Florida. The measure passed with only one “no” vote after the committee heard almost 3 hours of testimony.
Numerous Limitations Enforced by the New Bill
The measure completely bans smoking and edibles while vaping will only be legal for those with terminal illnesses. For many illnesses, marijuana oil is not the recommended form of treatment. There are many illnesses, including PTSD and migraines, that have been proven to be treated most effectively when the marijuana is vaped or at least smoked. Having an option on what kind of method best suits each condition has been removed with Rodrigues’ measure. It also keeps in place a 90 day waiting period between receiving a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana and being able to actually purchase it. The measure also keeps the limit at 7 medical marijuana dispensing companies for the state.
“Undermines and Contradicts the Constitution”
All up, the only groups that are behind the measure are the ones that did not support Amendment 2, including Drug Free America and Save Our Society From Drugs. For those who worked to support Amendment 2 and make the plant available for Florida residents, there is a lot of disappointment and frustration. Ben Pollara, who was campaign manager for the committee that backed Amendment 2, said “This proposal undermines and contradicts the Constitution, the will of 71 percent of Floridians, and would impose significant, arbitrary barriers to patient access.”
Yet Rodrigues has said that the restrictive measure is only a start and does not resemble the ultimate way the medical marijuana industry will function in Florida. He states that he is being measured and cautious given the current federal political climate when it comes to the subject of marijuana. He believes that if states keep the laws as strict as possible, there will be no need for federal interference. Those who are in need of the medical benefits that marijuana can provide may not be so happy with that answer. For now, the measure needs to pass 2 more committees before going to the House floor.