Earlier this week, a friend of mine started the process of obtaining a medical card for marijuana in Florida. We posted a blog article earlier this month about the Florida Office of Compassionate Use, now called the Florida Office of Marijuana Use that went over the process. What he found out when discussing his treatment options with a licensed medical professional was that dry herb would not be one of them? Say what?
United For Care makes a stand for patients
On Wednesday of this week, Medical Marijuana advocate heavyweight John Morgan filed suit against the state of Florida in response to recent guidelines set forth for the execution of Amendment 2 (full text here), which grants medical marijuana access to patients in this state, that do not allow the purchase of dry herb, or whole flower products. For those following medical marijuana news in Florida, this was not a surprise. For prospective patients, this is an outrage.
Was medical cannabis in Florida doomed from the start?
As early as March of this year, cannabis activists and journalists were catching the buzz that edibles, vaping, and smoking cannabis would not be considered legal delivery methods for medical marijuana products in the state 1. Amidst this speculation, there was no clear-cut answer from florida legislators charged with passing a bill to define the terms of medical marijuana use.
In the second week of June this year, the Florida Senate passed SB-8A, the bill Mr. Morgan is calling into question. Section (3), sub-section (j) (lines 205-215) are the subject of debate:
(j) “Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, use, 206 delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by 207 a physician certification. The term does not include:…2. Possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a 212 form for smoking, in the form of commercially produced food 213 items other than edibles, or of marijuana seeds or flower, 214 except for flower in a sealed, tamper-proof receptacle for 215 vaping.
This is something completely unprecedented in the history of medical marijuana in the United States. Currently all 28 other states and the District of Columbia allow the purchase and use of dried herb for medical treatment–the question on everyone’s mind is: why not Florida?
Talking with industry experts about Florida’s medical marijuana legislation
I decided that this was not a topic I wanted to tackle all by myself, so I got in touch with some other writers and activists to get their opinions. After a round table discussion with some of our contributors and affiliates in the medical marijuana industry across the United States (all of whom took staunch opposition), I find it hard to rationalize this ludicrous restriction.
Why dry herb should be allowed in Florida
The people of Florida voted 71% approval in 2016, shattering expectations for the Sunshine State. States that have had medical marijuana dispensaries serving dry herb have not seen widespread public misuse or negative public impact. It’s clear to this writer that there is a large disconnect between legislators of Florida and the medical marijuana industry and cannabis culture as a whole. There really is no excuse for the barring of dry herb sales and consumption in Florida for medical use.