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Your Guide to Understanding Florida’s Confusing New Medical Marijuana Laws

Your Guide To Understanding Florida’s Confusing New Medical Marijuana Laws

Medical marijuana doctors have sprouted up all across the country. There are now fully trained professional doctors who prescribe medical marijuana to patients in states like California, Colorado, New York, and now Florida. Although legal medical marijuana, and even recreational marijuana, is becoming increasingly more common in certain areas, all states differ in their marijuana legislation.

While some states have recently experimented with both decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, cannabis remains illegal in Florida unless it’s being used for medicinal purposes. Although possession of less than 20 grams is only a misdemeanor, it’s still a criminal offense.

Even the medicinal legislation, however, is subject to change, as Florida voters recently discovered. As of Summer 2017, Florida has a new medical marijuana law, but it’s not what many voters were expecting when they voted for a constitutional amendment to allow legal medical marijuana.

According to Sarasota Magazine, many Florida residents who voted for legal medical marijuana are upset because of the lack of actual smokeable marijuana. In a surprising turn, the conservative state legislature decided that medical marijuana doctors should only dispense non-smokable forms of cannabis.

“We’re a medical facility,” said Victoria Walker, head of community relations for Trulieve dispensary in Florida. “No black lights, no Bob Marley.”

In the fall of 2016, roughly 71.3% of voters approved a constitutional amendment expanding medical marijuana. The vote made Florida one of 30 states that have some form of legalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal use. But the actual implementation of this new legislation doesn’t involve smokable marijuana at all. The new rules bar dispensaries from selling marijuana buds, flowers, or any other part of the plant that can actually be smoked.

“Florida is near the bottom of giving people what they actually voted for,” said Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Strekal believes that Florida legislators attempted to be as restrictive as possible.

As of late June 2017, roughly 20,000 patients and almost 900 medical marijuana doctors have registered in Florida. Despite the confusing legalities behind legal smokeless marijuana, the bill is achieving its goal of reducing chronic pain and helping patients with serious medical problems. Since four in five new heroin users begin by misusing prescription painkillers, prescribing marijuana, no matter its form, should help limit the amount of painkiller prescriptions as well.

“We’re hearing from people who are no longer having seizures, patients whose tumors have gone into remissions,” added Walker. “Medical marijuana is also going to play a big role in bringing down the opioid epidemic because it is a safe, natural way to control pain.”

If you want to learn more about these new medical marijuana laws or speak to trusted medical marijuana doctors in Florida, contact Peace Medical today!

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