How Does Recreational Cannabis Legalization Impact the Future of Medical Cannabis?
by Chane Leigh
Medical cannabis patients in Florida must now sign a new standardized consent form in order to legally partake. Doctors also have a new set of procedures to follow to recommend medical cannabis. All of this happened very quietly for some reason. Are the new regulations for the good of the people, or are they just more hoops to jump through?
These additional regulations took effect last week, but many patients and doctors might not be fully aware of what it consists of let alone that they even exist. Medical cannabis patients that receive recertification or who are newly certified in the state of Florida to smoke medical cannabis must sign a standardized consent form that warns of various concerns such as the dangers of smoking near an oxygen tank. Was this enough of an issue that the state now has to force patients to sign off on? Most people who are either on oxygen or know someone who is, are likely already aware of the dangers of having open flames near oxygen tanks. As if that wasn’t enough, patients are also advised in the state of Florida to check their medical cannabis supplies for mold!
I thought cannabis in the state of Florida was legalized as a medical market. Why is the responsibility passed on to the patient to have to check for mold in their medicine when the cannabis industry is excessively taxed? And why doesn’t this excessive tax go toward enforcing quality control? Doesn’t lab testing results cover contaminants such as mold? If patients are having to look over their own product for mold, does that mean they need to also look for rodent feces, human hairs, or other foreign objects in their medicine as well? This sends out a very wrong message to me, and I’m sure to many others.
The new standardized consent form to smoke medical cannabis in the state of Florida went quietly into effect. This is another issue that concerns me especially because these new additions are not posted on any of the state’s official regulatory websites. Physicians who do not comply with the newly adopted practice standards could face potential disciplinary action from the state board should complaints be filed and found to be true. Physicians are not advertising this new rule, and patients are not really talking about it. A Tampa physician that played an important role in writing these new regulations named Joel Rose was quoted telling media sources he wants to “turn up the volume,” letting physicians and patients know about these new regulations.
Why were more physicians not made aware of the potential of these new regulations? Why were they quietly put into effect? Mr. Rose went on to say, “they say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but the word needs to get out”. The new regulations were put together by The Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana that consists of members from the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. While members voted unanimously, many were still hesitant.
A physician on the committee, Jorge J. Lopez, is under the belief that smoking cannabis is potentially addictive and that labeling or regulating cannabis as a medicine is a superfluous endeavor. He was quoted as saying;
“Personally, what I believe what we are doing is a workaround rather than the decriminalization of recreational marijuana but this landed in our lap, and we have to work with it.”
Rose went on to compare cannabis to abortion in the sense that there are many who don’t agree, yet, the state still legally permits and provides a framework for safety for those who choose the service. He said, “What can we do to best serve the public and fulfill what the Legislature charged us with”? I’m not sure where these people have been or who they interviewed, but a recent poll showed that most Americans support legalizing cannabis. Further, cannabis has always been extremely popular in Florida, just as it is in many other places. Some of the best cannabis in the United States is grown in the college town of Gainesville, Florida. Ever hear of Gainesville Green? Chances are, if you lived in Florida or live in Florida and have a sweet spot for Mary Jane, you know what I’m talking about!
Medical cannabis is legal in Florida, but it seems they’re not really trying to get rid of the illicit market there. If they were, they would have taken medical cannabis legalization a little more seriously, providing better options from quality and affordability for patients. The state’s medical cannabis program has been plagued by controversy since it began awarding grow licenses. Hopefully, the state of Florida will figure out a way to make its medical cannabis program work and favor those who call Florida home.
If you are a medical cannabis patient in the state of Florida, make sure you ask your recommending physician about the new medical marijuana standardized consent form to ensure this tiny minute detail doesn’t suddenly make you a criminal for being a patient that prefers nature over pharmaceuticals.
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