This past Friday, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill which would expand Florida’s narrow medical marijuana law. The bill, which was already approved by the Senate and House of Representatives, will now become a law.
The new law increases the number of people who would qualify for medical marijuana to include those persons suffering from a terminal illness. Previously, the law was limited to patients suffering from cancer and seizure disorders. The law also expands the types of cannabis available to qualifying patients to include strains that are high in THC as well as those that are high in CBD.
Finally, the new law seeks to streamline the process of setting up dispensing organizations which would provide medical cannabis to patients. The process established by the old law was heavily criticized and never reached full implementation due to legal challenges and bureaucratic red tape. The new law seeks to create a clearer path to a functioning dispensary system and allows for an increase in the number of dispensing organizations as the number of patients increases.
While the new law is not as broad as the ballot initiative which will appear on the November 2016 election ballot, it is still another small step in the right direction. It is evidence that lawmakers are increasingly viewing medical cannabis as a legitimate form of treatment and that they are putting compassion for patients above the strict “drug war” mentality.
The full text of the new law can be read by clicking here.