Lawmakers Fail To Pass Medical Marijuana Legislation
SARASOTA- Is Florida’s medical marijuana industry up in smoke? 72% of voters voted in favor of legalizing Medical Cannabis, but Florida’s legislative session ended without passing any bills to regulate the growing industry.
Failing to enact medical marijuana legislation means establishing rules to implement Amendment two, now falls to the Department of Health.
“It sounds to me like the can is just being kicked down the road additionally until such time that everyone feels comfortable and on board and in agreement as to how we should go about it.”
Neurologist Dr. Ronald Aung-Din says that’s unlikely with the negative stigma still surrounding medical cannabis.
Recent bills fell apart after not reaching an agreement about the number of dispensaries and licenses available for growing and selling.
“It is anti-American, it’s almost like a Monopoly,” Dr. Aung-Din said. “Somebody even used the term Cartel. That these 7 dispensaries are going to have a monopoly and control the market. And it’s going to make it more difficult for patients to obtain cannabis.”
But doctors want to assure patients they can still access medical marijuana.
“The system is still intact,” Dr. Barry Gordon said. “We are seeing patients daily, we are certifying patients into the registry daily, the dispensaries are open, and I have patients that are achieving medicines through the dispensaries already.”
Medical Director of the Compassionate Cannabis Clinic in Venice Dr. Barry Gordon says what concerns him most is the lack of discussion of the positive effects of medical cannabis.
“It’s that lack of interest in the science that’s so striking,” Dr. Gordon said. “And I can tell you this, This doctor is going to take the opportunity now that the bill has fallen apart to make sure that lack of science debate never occurs again.”
Next session, Doctors say legislators should think about the patients in need.
“A more appropriate discussion about what’s really important to patients to the extent of access,” Dr. Gordon said. “It’s access by location, by price, by the quality of the product.”
“The three month wait that we had before we could prescribe after seeing a patient,” Dr. Aung-Din said. “Some of my patients have died in that three month period with devastating cancers so that’s not fair.”
The Department of Health has until July 1st to establish new rules.
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