Strict Florida Medical Pot Law Could Expand Come November


marijuanaJune 16 was a big day for Florida marijuana advocates, as Republican Governor Rick Scott signed in a limited medical marijuana law allowing for the treatment of a very specific set of diseases with a very special strain of pot. But this limited law could be expanded far wider come November, when another medical marijuana law goes before Florida voters. That law is one some lawmakers are doing their best to stop, hoping that the new legislation will be “good enough” for the Sunshine State.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act signed by Scott will allow for Charlotte’s Web (a form of non-psychoactive CBD marijuana derivative) to be prescribed to patients suffering from seizure disorders, cancer, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Charlotte’s Web got its name from a Colorado girl whose seizure disorder had left her in a medically-induced coma, unable to function for the back-to-back violent seizures she suffered. Only after taking the cannabidiol (CBD) oil did she see improvement, and vast improvements at that.

“As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer,” Scott said in a statement. “I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available.”

The bill got support from both Republican and Democrat state lawmakers precisely because it is so limited in scope. The law going before voters this fall, however, is a different story.

So far, $7.7 million has been raised to oppose the amendment set for the November 4 ballot. Those investing in the anti-pot campaign include Drug Free Florida, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas “casino magnate.

Recent polls show most Floridians support the measure, but it will need a 60 percent majority to pass.

 “I’m not 100 percent sure it’s a slam dunk,” said political science professor Susan MacManus. “We’re starting to see a lot more attention to some of the unintended consequences (of marijuana legalization) that have happened in Colorado, the negative side of it.”

It isn’t clear if by “negative” MacManus means the millions in tax revenue, the pot tourism, or the thousands of people now able to obtain marijuana for their physical and mental ailments, or if she is privy to some information weighty enough to negate all these seemingly positive outcomes.

For now, Florida has reason to celebrate. The newly signed medical marijuana law is a step in the right direction. But there is further work to be done.