If there ever was a time to kick incumbent politicians out of office, the 2017 Florida legislative session gives Floridians a clear example as to why. This past November, 71 percent of Floridians voted to expand medical marijuana in the state dramatically from the few that could use it before. The flaw in the initiative that was voted on, was leaving it up to the Florida legislature to sort out the details. Most bills floating around Tallahassee will not allow a patient to smoke the plant and others go so far as to not allow eating it or vaping it to extract its health benefits.
While the Florida legislative session will end one week from today (May 5, 2017), it is clear the will of the people is going to be denied. Bills that will be voted on in both the Florida House and the Florida Senate are still very restrictive in helping Florida patients benefit from medical marijuana. Politicians do so at their own political peril as polling in favor of medical marijuana has never been greater.
The issue will be heard in the Florida House at 10:30 a.m. with H.B. 1397. It is unknown what the final result will look like and we will reserve judgment until we see the final bill that will be signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott. This morning, some will be encouraging making the following amendments to HB 1397:
• Allow physician recommendation, and to remove any instruction to “order” or to require physicians to specify a type or quantity of medical marijuana;
• Expand conditions for treatment to include any “debilitating medical condition[s] of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient”;
• Open the market to comply with Amendment 2’s mandate of licensing MMTCs within nine months to provide low-cost medical marijuana; and
• Abolish any limitation qualifying the doctor-patient relationship, and allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients after “a physical examination and a full assessment of the medical history of the patient.”
Those wishing to take action and have their voice heard to their Florida House Rep and State Senator can use this link to do so.