Florida’s MMJ Bill More Restrictive Than Before Legalization

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What can you do in Florida to consume legal medical cannabis?

Back in November, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to approve medical marijuana.

Now, after all manner of roadblocks and a long wait for regulations, legislators have unveiled a plan that’s actually more restrictive than no plan at all.

Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues recently revealed his 61-page bill, and Florida’s medical marijuana community is shocked to learn that it bans patients from smoking, consuming edibles and restricts vaping exclusively to “qualified patients diagnosed with a terminal condition.”

So…what does that leave?

Medical marijuana advocates like Ben Pollara, campaign director for United for Care are extremely perplexed.

‘Well, how can you ingest it?” he said to New Times.

Referring to the unreasonably restrictive Rodrigues bill, Pollara said: “It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana. There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use.”

Going Backwards

Before November’s legalization vote, Florida already allowed the use of low THC derivatives for terminally ill people under what was known as the “Compassionate Use” law.

Rodrigues’ bill also requires patients to submit their driver’s license and a second form of ID. If someone using MMJ is charged with any drug offense, the state has the right to revoke their license, even if they are not convicted.

Caregivers need to undergo background checks and training courses and, like patients, will be issued photo ID cards. Patients will be barred from buying more than a 90-day supply of cannabis.

The state can also revoke pot licenses once a patient is deemed to be “cured.”

The bill mandates an “education campaign” to publicize the “short-term and long-term health effects of cannabis and marijuana use, particularly on minors and young adults,” the “legal requirements for licit use and possession of marijuana in this state,” and the “safe use of marijuana” and sets up an impaired-driving education campaign.

New Times aptly notes that Rodrigues’ bill effectively treats MMJ patients like they’re registering to ingest uranium.

Stricter Than Opiate Registration

If you want opiate painkillers in Florida, often referred to as America’s painkiller capital, no such registration process for patients or caregivers is required.

Unless Rodrigues’ outrageous bill is overturned, Florida might be hanging on to that title for a while longer, even though the vast majority of the state voted to move on to a healthier option.

“I don’t know how malleable the bill is right now, but it can be amended,” Pollara says. “It’s a disappointing place to start, but I’d rather it be disappointing to start than disappointing to finish.”

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