Florida legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes

Florida became the 23rd state in the nation to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1030 (the “Charlotte’s Web” bill) back on June 16, with overwhelming support of Florida citizens and the Florida legislature. The bill passed 111-7 in the House and 30-9 in the Senate.

ABOUT SB 1030

In its most simple form, SB1030 decriminalizes a medical professionals’ recommendation and patient’s use of a particular strain of a low-THC cannibis for specific medicinal purposes. It means a doctor can ‘order’ the usage of a certain strain of cannabis for treatment of specific ailments as outlined in the bill. These ailments include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, other physical medical conditions that chronically produce symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, and its original intended purpose – pediatric epilepsy (the strain named ‘Charlotte’s Web’ after Charlotte Figi, a five-year old who experienced a reduction of seizures after taking the drug.)

The physicians must be appropriately licensed and patients must be Florida residents. The physician must add the patient to the newly formed “compassionate use registry.”

It allows for five (5) companies to be licensed to cultivate, process and dispense the approved strain in an oil format. These companies would be based in four corners of the state, and one in the center of the state.

It does not allow a smokable form of marijuana; only the oil form is included in the legislation.

PROS

Florida is on the forefront of this issue, and it is setting a precedent for other Southern states, which traditionally may not support what is perceived as a ‘blue state’ issue. Florida has been bi-partisan in this initiative, and that is definitely a positive.

The bill opens the doors for doctors to recommend an effective treatment program for their patients that, according to a number of studies, can be cost effective; has fewer side effects; and strong healing possibilities.

The bill allows for our state universities with agricultural and medical programs to conduct research to develop new forms of treatment; a great opportunity for medical advancement to take place in Florida.

 

CONS

The Bill creates a monopoly in the hands of five businesses, severely limiting competition and free enterprise. More research and public inquisition needs to be done to determine exactly who these five companies are, what criteria is being used to select them, how they will be regulated, and to whom they report.

While the last minute expansion of the Bill allows for additional ailments to be covered, there are still hundreds of thousands of Floridians who will not be covered under the legislation, such as those with HIV/Aids, Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental disabilities (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and others.

The bill only allocates $1 Million to oversee the entire “cannabis” program; leaving room for potential corruption and mismanagement.


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