Although Florida lawmakers approved an ultra-restrictive medical marijuana program two years ago, state health officials are still nowhere even close to organizing the regulatory affairs that are supposed to eventually allow the distribution of low-THC cannabis products to those patients suffering from cancer and seizure disorders.
Some legislative figures are now embarrassed by the state’s inability to get the program off the ground without continuing to show off a pair of extremely worn out clown shoes. During a recent hearing before the Regulated Industries Committee, Republican Senator Rob Bradley voiced his aggravation for the debacle, which will most likely prevent patients from getting their hands on this medicine before the end of 2017.
Under the Compassionate Cannabis Act, patients were supposed to have access to the program before the beginning of this year.
“We passed a law to respond to concerns from suffering families and we look up here couple years later and we still do not have relief promised to those families,” Bradley said. “I find that frustrating and am sorry to families that we aren’t there yet."
Fortunately, the state is on the verge of getting a major initiative on the ballot in November’s general election that could completely cripple the piss-poor intentions behind the state’s “Charlotte’s Web” program and put it out of its misery, once and for all. The word on the street is United for Care, the organization headed up by Florida attorney John Morgan, is simply waiting for the state to award them final approval before they dig into an aggressive campaign to bring a fully functional medial marijuana program to the Sunshine State.
Earlier last week, the group reportedly submitted 1.1 million petitions to the Supervisors of Elections in hopes of qualifying the 683,149 signatures needed to earn a voice in the forthcoming election. Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, told HIGH TIMES that the group expects to receive a green light before the middle of February.
“Currently, the Secretary of State is reporting our total is over 570,000 validated,” Pollara said, “and I have no reason to think we won't hit our goals and qualify for the ballot.
United for Care secured 58 percent of the vote in their fight to pass “Amendment 2” in the 2014 election, but Florida law dictates that ballot measures must be approved by 60 percent of the voters in order to become law. A year ago, United for Care announced it was making a few minor adjustments to its proposed constitutional amendment in hopes of calming down the opposing forces that are destined to come crawling to the surface once the group is finally approved for the ballot.
Among the changes is the elimination of home cultivation, and only those patients with “debilitating conditions” would be allowed to receive recommendations from their doctors. Perhaps the biggest concern voiced by the opposition in 2014 was the idea that children could be recommended medical marijuana without parental consent. That portion of the initiative has also been changed to require a parent’s approval before a minor could gain access.
If United for Care is successful this year in passing their latest effort to legalize medical marijuana, it is almost inevitable that the wheels of the state’s low-THC program are going to come spinning off completely before the end of the year.