Fort Myers, Florida Representative Ray Rodrigues recently revealed the first medical marijuana statutes. They would prohibit people from smoking cannabis or using edibles. Patients would also be banned from vaporizing marijuana if they are not terminally ill. Rodrigues’ proposal is even more restrictive than the laws that existed before Florida voted to legalize medical marijuana. Ben Pollara, United for Care’s campaign director stated, “It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana. There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use.”
Rodrigues’ proposal defines the “medical use” of marijuana as “the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification.” Specifically, however, the proposal says medical use does not include “possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking or vaping, or in the form of commercially produced food items made with marijuana or marijuana oils, except for vapable forms possessed, used, or administered by or for a qualified patient diagnosed with a terminal condition.”
Rodrigues said, “The question we’ve been asking all day is, ‘Well, how can you ingest it?”. Before last year’s legalization vote, the state had already allowed low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis derivatives for terminally ill people under what was known as the “Compassionate Use” law. Under the old system, doctors could register on a state database and administer low-THC, high-cannabidiol medicines such as the “Charlotte’s Web” hemp extract.
Legislators included statutes mandating that a medical marijuana patient submit his or her state driver’s license and a second form of ID to obtain approved for medicinal cannabis. Patients can have their medical-marijuana licenses suspended if they are charged with any drug offense. The state can also revoke cannabis licenses once a patient is believed to be “cured.” People who want to administer drugs to individuals who can not take them themselves must undergo background checks and training courses. Both caregivers and patients will be issued photo ID cards. Patients will be prohibited from buying more than a 90-day supply of marijuana.
The proposal also sanctions an “education campaign” to publicize the “short-term and long-term health effects of marijuana use, the “legal requirements for licit use and possession of marijuana in this state,” and the “safe use of marijuana.” The proposal also sets up an impaired-driving education campaign. Pollara said, “I don’t know how malleable the bill is right now, but it can be amended. It’s a disappointing place to start, but I’d rather it be disappointing to start than disappointing to finish.”