Florida patients fight for access to newly-legalized medical marijuana
Published on Feb 17, 2017
After over 70% of Florida voters approved the latest medical marijuana amendment expanding the list of qualifying conditions and including higher strength medicine, the state legislature has suggested changes to the amendment, heavily restricting the program's qualifying patients, where to buy it, and how long it takes. The proposed changes sparked outrage allover the state leading to overflowing public hearings where patients and advocates pleaded with lawmakers about high prices, limited availability, and doctor's prescription requirements. After reviewing the public's concerns, officials will propose follow up changes which will also be subject to public comment. The Florida House and Senate are also planning on releasing medical marijuana proposals before next month's session begins.
State officials have recommended restrictions on what type of patients can qualify for medical marijuana, and where they can obtain it. Their suggestions, however, have prompted a wave of opposition across the state, with nearly 1,300 residents attending what are normally low-key bureaucratic hearings to press for less restricted access to marijuana.
Amendment 2, which was approved by 71 percent of voters last November, was enacted on Jan. 3. It allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments than what was currently allowed in state law. The rules have become a flashpoint because the amendment requires the state to adopt them by July 3 and have them in place by September