Florida patients might be in trouble if the state’s medical marijuana program continues to be broken up by the executives in Tallahassee. Earlier this past week, a couple of influential lawmakers submitted a bill to the state’s House of Representatives, which looking to provide only those patients identified as “terminally ill” with access to marijuana. This ultra-restrictive proposal was apparently set up to ensure Florida’s walking dead has a medical treatment that is effective in easing the pain associated with the end of life, while continuing to discount those patients that still remain among those who are living.
However not one patient has yet to gain any advantages from the state’s 2014 Charlotte’s Web law, which allows certain patients suffering from seizure disorders to obtain the non-intoxicating strain, the bill’s authors — Senators Rob Bradley and Matt Gaetz — believe their latest proposal would mix well with the current program by providing terminally ill patients with an alternative to hazardous prescription medicine.
“The people in our communities who care about cannabis reform, who want to be able to die without being jacked up with opiates and without being in excruciating pain are visiting their legislators,” Senator Gaetz said in a statement. “They are making phone calls. They’re sending emails, and it’s working.”
The proposal — House Bill 307 — was developed as an attachment to a new state law known as the “Right to Try Act,” which provides terminally ill patients the access to use experimental drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Essentially, the bill seeks to allow terminally ill patients to have access to all forms of marijuana as long as they can get two licensed physicians to recommend them.
In contrast to the seemingly good intentions surrounding the lawmakers’ latest proposal, it might be in the best interest of the state if they would just hold off from drafting any more legislation that has to do with the legalization of marijuana. That’s because team Bradley and Gaetz were the brains behind Florida’s 2014 Charlotte’s Web law, which continues to have no functionality in Florida due to a wide range of problems, involving arguments over the program’s regulatory affairs. Furthermore, the current law, much like the proposal catering to the terminally ill, stops short of treating patients suffering from a variety of medical issues.
Luckily, John Morgan’s group, United for Care, which is working to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot to legalize a full-scale medical marijuana market, is well on their way to getting the necessary signatures to see that the problem is put in front of the voters again next year. In 2014, the organization missed obtaining this goal by only two points due to Florida law stating that a constitutional amendment must be approved by 60 percent of the voters.
Yet, Bradley and Gaetz mention they are not trying to disrupt United for Care’s attempt to legalize medical marijuana on a much larger platform, they argue that the issue is one that would be best handled by the State Legislature.
“This is a job for legislators to do, not the blunt instrument of a constitutional amendment,” Bradley said.
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