Medical marijuana patients in Florida have a new option for medicating as smokable marijuana went on sale in dispensaries for the first time last Thursday. Voters in Florida passed a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, but regulations banning smokable cannabis were passed by the legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Rick Scott.
Cannabis advocates sued, claiming the ban violated the amendment passed by voters. A state court agreed and declared the rule invalid, but it remained in place as an appeal from Scott’s administration made its way through the courts. However, when the new governor, Rick DeSantis, took office at the beginning of this year, he told the legislature if the ban was not repealed his administration would abandon the appeal of the court ruling. The legislature passed a repeal bill last week and DeSantis signed it last Monday.
Registered adult medical marijuana patients who receive a doctor’s recommendation for smokable marijuana may now purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 35 days and possess up to four ounces at any time. Terminally ill children will be able to smoke medical marijuana only with the consent of two doctors including a pediatrician.
Smokable Flower Sales Begin
Medical marijuana company Trulieve, which operates 26 dispensaries in Florida, took quick advantage of the repeal and began selling smokable marijuana including cannabis flower and pre-rolled joints on Thursday morning. The company had pre-submitted an application to sell smokable marijuana to state regulators and received approval on Wednesday.
“We are excited about the opportunity to sell whole flower smokable products to patients in Florida and honored to be the first company in Florida to do so,” said Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve.
“Offering these whole flower products to our patients in their purest, most-effective form is something we — and patients — have been looking forward to since we opened the doors of the state’s first dispensary,” Rivers added.
Medical marijuana patient Douglas Dixon was the first person to purchase smokable cannabis in Florida at a Trulieve dispensary in Tallahassee. Since beginning the medicinal use of cannabis two years ago, he has been able to stop taking 15 prescription medications including pain killers, Xanax, and a medicine for his heart.
“It’s a total transformation,” said Dixon, who has also been able to gain 35 pounds with cannabis. “I’m not in pain anymore. My appetite is back. I have no anxiety. I can sleep at night.”
Dixon received his recommendation for medical marijuana from Dr. Cheryl Fee, whose practice Doc MJ is two doors away from the Trulieve dispensary.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the first sale and provide patients that need this smokable whole-flower option,” Fee said.
Medical marijuana firm Curaleaf has also received approval to sell smokable marijuana in its dispensaries, according to company spokeswoman Lauren Garcia-Velez.
“The company is currently making final preparations to transport smokable medical marijuana products within the next couple of days,” Garcia-Velez said.
David Weisbrot, another registered medical marijuana patient, was happy with his first purchase of smokable cannabis from a Trulieve dispensary.
“Considering what’s on the black market on the streets, this is very comparable in price,” said Weisbrot. “You’re getting a much better product. You know where it’s coming from. It’s tested by the state.”