Florida passes medical marijuana bill
Medical marijuana patients will soon have greater access to non-smokable marijuana to treat their illnesses. Florida passes medical marijuana bill expanding the conditions and regulations on use of medical marijuana for patients with terminal conditions. The new regulations are being added to a bill that passed the Florida House two years ago.
The new bill, passed by the Florida House on Thursday, March 3, adds regulations for dispensing organizations, patients and physicians covered by the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.
Now, terminally ill medical marijuana patients can access non-smokable cannabis in any strength and dosage. Previously, certain high-THC strains were prohibited. Patients were also limited in their allowed dosage.
Rep. Matt Gaetz’s bill (HB 307) approved on a 99-16 vote Thursday expands the Right to Try act allowing near death patients to use non-smokable marijuana of all strengths and doses.
In Florida, medical marijuana legislation has been slow to license dispensaries and dispensing organizations. Just five dispensing organizations were selected in November to grow marijuana. There have also been administrative challenges along the way.
Those dispensaries specialize in growing marijuana that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) but low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that produces a euphoric high. CBD is a less psychoactive cannabinoid. Researchers are increasingly discovering CBD is responsible for cannabis’s positive health effects for some patients.
High CBD strains are used primarily to treat children with epilepsy and other neurological disorders. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that CBD oil could potentially help children with autism acquire verbal skills.
A bill similar to the one passed by the Florida House is about to be up before the Senate. It is expected to pass unopposed.
The latest polls also show widespread popular support for 2016’s Medical Marijuana Initiative. According to polls, 65 percent of Floridians support the initiative.
Only 28% who are opposed, passing the 60% threshold with some breathing room. There’s bipartisan support for the measure with Democrats (75/18), independents (70/22), and Republicans (53/40) all expressing their support behind the bill and medical marijuana generally.