SECOND TOKE IS THE CHARM? - A close up of a bottle - Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Legalization of medical marijuana back on the ballot  

In 2014, Amendment 2 legalizing medical marijuana failed although it garnered 58 percent of the vote but fell short of the 60 percent needed to become law. Revamped and rewritten, Amendment 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot will allow qualified physicians and caregivers to certify patients and issue IDs for medical marijuana use. The amendment now expands the definition of debilitating diseases, includes parental consent and limits caregiver patients.

Voting “yes” on Amendment 2 would allow licensed physicians and caregivers to dispense marijuana prescriptions to patients with specific debilitating diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases. An ID would allow patients to legally obtain marijuana from state regulated dispensaries. The Department of Health would regulate and limit the number of centers that cultivate and distribute marijuana.

This will Amendment would expand on the recently approved Florida House Bill 307 allowing terminally ill patients to use marijuana. HB 307 allowed Trulieve, a marijuana dispensary, to open in Tallahassee last July with more dispensaries pending throughout the state.

The amendment’s definition of a “caregiver” remains vague. However, it does state it must be someone 21 years or older, who is licensed to help a patient. The licensing guidelines have yet to be written. The Department of Health will limit the number of patients a caregiver may see and cap the amount of IDs they may hand out. Caregivers are also prohibited from consuming the marijuana dispensed to their patients.

Also, Amendment 2 would require annual renewal for all patient ID’s and access to marijuana would not be limitless. Lastly, a minor would need parental or guardian consent in writing to obtain an ID.

A “no” vote will not affect the existing Florida statutes. Aside from HB 307, there is the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 which allows non-smoked low-THC marijuana for qualified patients suffering from seizures and advanced cancer. So far no known patients have received such benefits since enacted Jan. 1, 2015.


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