Medical Marijuana Madness

Leave it to Tallahassee to f-things up.
And still there are people in Tallahassee who seem hell-bent on fouling up Florida's medical marijuana program with unnecessary and unwieldy regulations.
It doesn't have to be this way, and it shouldn't be this way. More than half the nation is moving forward with medical marijuana, and more than 70 percent of Florida voters agreed it was the smart and compassionate thing to do by passing Amendment 2 last fall.
Yet the state's Department of Health has weighed in with proposals that defy the language passed in the amendment. And some lawmakers are talking about conditions that will almost certainly make it harder and more expensive for patients to get their medication.
Meanwhile, parents such as Clearwater's Dani Hall are left worrying about a battle they thought had already been fought and won.
Both of Hall's sons, ages 11 and 13, are autistic, and she has been waiting for marijuana's legalization to combat the anxiety, depression, rage and other issues associated with their condition. She's known other parents who have gone out of state for medical marijuana products, but she instead chose to advocate for Amendment 2's passage and remain within the law.
"I simply can't take the risk of having my kids taken away from me if we ever got arrested,'' Hall said. "That's the crazy thing. We've done everything right, we got the amendment passed and now we're still fighting all these little battles all over the place. It's like two steps forward, and one step back.''
There are a number of potential problems with some of the regulations being talked about in Tallahassee, but three stand above the rest:
1. As they did with Charlotte's Web — a modified form of medical marijuana with a small list of eligible patients — some lawmakers want to limit the number of growers in the state.
Never mind that this is antithetical to the state's normal free-market obsession, it could also create a supply/demand problem that would make prices soar and conceivably send patients to the black market.
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, has proposed a bill that would add growers as the state's patient list increased, but Amendment 2 guru Ben Pollara says the state's patient-to-grower ratio would still be five or six times higher than most other states. And there's also the problem of giving the first round of growers a head start on signing agreements with municipalities for dispensaries.
"What we are creating is the definition of a cartel,'' said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.
2. The Department of Health proposal would limit the number of ailments eligible for marijuana and put the list in the hands of the state Board of Medicine. The amendment specifically says individual doctors should have the authority to make those decisions.
3. Language in some of the proposals could also make doctors wary of signing up for the approved list of physicians who can recommend marijuana. Since it is still technically against federal laws, some doctors are concerned by language that suggests they will "order'' marijuana instead of "recommending.''
All of these problems are unnecessary and easily
solvable. Brandes is planning to introduce legislation in the coming week that would eliminate Bradley's proposal to limit the number of growers. Brandes also suggests there is no need for growers to control the product from inception to delivery, and proposes creating separate licenses for growers, processors, retailers and transportation companies.
"I hope that we can have reasonable discussions about this,'' Brandes said. "Using the (Charlotte's Web) regulatory system designed for 1,000 sick children when you're now looking at potentially 250,000 patients is crazy. That mindset is absolutely insane.''
What's exasperating is that lawmakers should know better. They bungled the rollout of Charlotte's Web, and children had to wait an unconscionable amount of time before it became available.
And though the Legislature had zero interest in legalizing marijuana on its own, lawmakers had to know this day was on the horizon based on polls and what was happening elsewhere in the country.
"They have this attitude of, 'We have to take a conservative approach because we don't know what's going to happen.' That's nonsense,'' Pollara said. "We know what's going to happen. We know how it's supposed to work. We have two dozen other states that have already shown us.''

The Department of Health also is providing the opportunity to express your concerns in person at the below workshops.

Monday, February 6, 2017 at 2:00PM in Jacksonville
Duval County Health Department
900 University Blvd. North
Jacksonville, FL 32211

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 10:00AM in Broward
Broward County Health Department
780 SW 24th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 9:00AM in Tampa
Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory
3602 Spectrum Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 6:00PM in Orlando
Orange County Health Department
6102 Lake Ellenor Drive
Orlando, FL 32809

Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 4:00PM in Tallahassee
Betty Easley Conference Center
4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0850


  1. What ailment do you smoke for?

  2. This isn't about me. This is about the law. That said I smoke both recreationally and for valid medical reasons. Marijuana is objectively safer than tobacco, alcohol, and most Rx medicines.

    If a doctor has the option of prescribing Ambien or a dank indica strain for insomnia, the safer option is MMJ.

  3. Sure, whatever you say.

    It is very much about your addiction issues. And those of your pothead commrads who want to tell us all how safe Marijuana Candy is, even though kids od on it regularly.

    I don't care that you lie to yourself. But don't proclaim pot to be the second coming of penicillin. It makes you a liar and hypocrite.

    Thanks to you, and other screaming idiots like you, for being such a doche that enough otherwise reasonable people were pushed over to the right far enough that they would elect that fuckwad Trump.

    These next 4 years are on you. Enjoy the weed dirtbag.


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