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Marijuana legislation follows Constitutional Amendment language, intention

January 20th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Seeking to fulfill the will of voters who overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana last fall, a powerful state Senator has introduced legislation expanding the number of growers and dispensaries in the state, and the proposal also makes it easier for patients to get treatment.

The legislation allows as many as 20 new grow and dispensary licenses. The number increases as the number of patients grows. Jeff Sharkey of the Medical Marijuana Business Association calls the legislation a big first step to doing what voters asked.

“It expands the competition, which I think is good for patients, It’ll make the product more accessible and hopefully more affordable” says Sharkey.

Only a few hundred doctors have gone thought the required training course. The legislation would would cut the training from eight to four hours, which Sharkey says should make it easier for patients to find a doctor.

“The pipeline for getting doctors to be eligible to recommend medical cannabis has been slow inc coming, maybe four hundred doctors on the list now” says the founder of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

Gone in the legislation is the requirement that doctors see a patient for at least 90 days before they can receive marijuana treatments.

The legislation is in sharp contrast to rules proposed by the Department of Health earlier this week. Amendment two author Ben Pollera calls those rules restrictive.

“They’re basically just ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment in every step pf the way” Pollera told us by phone.

Under current law, licensee’s grow, distribute and dispense medical marijuana at retail. but lobbyists like Ron Watson will be working to allow more competition at the retail  level.

New Marijuana rules under fire00000004

“A larger distribution of different types of plants is going to be what’s best for the actual patients of Florida says Watson.”

While only a few thousand patients are currently registered, the number is expected to grow to over half a million.

A list of doctors can who have qualified to recommend medical marijuana can be found at the Department of Health web site under the Office of Compassionate Use. The list is updated weekly. (http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use/_documents/completed-cme.pdf

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