Florida is the latest state to legalize smoking medical marijuana, two years after citizens overwhelmingly voted for its legalization in a constitutional amendment. The Florida Senate voted on March 7, with the House voting on March 13, all trouncing the ban by 34-4 and 101-11 respectively. Governor Ron DeSantis had given both houses until March 15 to lift the ban which had been signed by the then Governor Rick Scott in 2017.
In a hugely popular tweet, Governor Ron revealed his delight at being able to grant the people of Florida their wish finally.
“My job is done. The will of the people has been heard! Really sick and injured people now have a path to safe wellness. Now on to slay other dragons! #ForThePeople.” Read the tweet.
Qualifying Ailments for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Following the grand move, legislation of Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (FMMLI) signed back on November 8, 2016, came into effect. It had suggested that only qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions would be allowed to use marijuana upon certification by a licensed Florida practitioner.
Under the FMMLI, Amendment 2, the following are considered debilitating medical conditions subject to legal protection by the initiative;
- AIDS (+)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- HIV (+)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Pain (If the cause is established to originate from a qualifying medical condition)
- Terminal Condition diagnosed by a third party physician other than the one issuing certification
- Any other medical condition comparable to the above
Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in Florida
The passing of the bill came with a well-projected outline to curb growing cases of drug abuse and to ensure the responsible consumption of marijuana. For you to become a medical marijuana patient, you must meet the following qualifications;
- You must be 18 years and over.
- You must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida
- You must obtain legal documentation from your physician showing the diagnosis report, and submit it during your marijuana evaluation appointment.
- Only a certified physician can carry out diagnosis through an in-person examination and must prove the existence of at least one of the above debilitating medical conditions.
- Your name must be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry by the evaluating physician.
- You must apply for a Medical Marijuana Card. Caregivers of patients may also apply for the same cards, a process that can be completed online or by mail. Completed applications must be accompanied by an approved passport, proof of residency, and an application processing fee.
- Upon approval of the application, a soft copy ID card is emailed, followed by a physical card sent through the mail.
- Qualified patients should fill their orders only at licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.
Certification of patients must be done every 30 weeks for purposes of facilitating new medical marijuana recommendations. Registry identification cards must be renewed annually, 45 days before the expiry of existing cards.
What medical marijuana legalization means to the people of Florida
The medical marijuana legalization in Florida is indeed a welcome move, following years of advocacy by the people for the people. Florida now joins 33 other states that have taken the bold step to legalize marijuana on medical grounds. Recreational marijuana is legal in only ten states; but as it stands, pending bills are pushing for the same in several other states.
Seen by most citizens as a victory for the people, Floridians could not have asked for more, given the massive support the bill received. Millions of Americans had benefitted in one way or another through the use of marijuana in other states, but the ban in Florida had made it impossible for the sick and injured to access the substance.
Alternative pharmaceutical drugs and particularly prescription-only drugs are available for various medical conditions, but for the longest time, they have been linked to all sorts of adverse effects. On the contrary, safe and responsible use of marijuana as a medical solution has no links to any related disease according to user reviews. Even in the Governor’s words, there is the total belief that marijuana is the missing link for the ‘really sick and injured.’Good times ahead!