As almost all Floridians are aware, Amendment 2 was passed this election, giving Florida patients the right to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The problem is that everyone is wondering, what now? Unfortunately, the best answer to that question is to wait. Despite the passing of this amendment, it still needs to be implemented before patients can freely make use of medical cannabis.
Under Amendment 2, there are 10 conditions that qualify for access to medical marijuana:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- HIV & AIDS
It’s important to know that terminally ill patients do not have to wait for Amendment 2. Due to an existing Florida law that makes full strength cannabis available to the terminally ill. These patients can get access to medical marijuana right now.
For those with conditions voted in under Amendment 2, there are several things that need to happen before you can qualify. Here are the Steps remaining before Amendment 2 is implemented and what you can do to help:
- The Florida Legislature:
The rules on how this Amendment will work is determined by the legislature. The current law requires a 90 day waiting period and certification by a doctor who recommends medical marijuana. The legislature has the authority to keep, add, or eliminate these current rules.
The best thing you can do is voice your support or grievances through the implementation process. You can contact your local Representative or Senator and give your opinions on how you think the amendment should be implemented.
- The Department of Health in Florida
This department regulates the use of cannabis in Florida. It is important that patients consume cannabis products which they’re sure to have certified as safe by the health department. This means that local growers and dispensaries must be licensed by the Department of Health. Additionally, if the legislature fails to write the rules that implement the amendment, it’ll be up to the Department of Health to implement it by July 1st, 2016.
By July 1, qualified patients should be able to access full strength medicinal cannabis. The majority of voters with qualifying illnesses thought that they were going to be able to purchase medicinal marijuana immediately after the election and are not upset. However, there are some steps patients can take to right now.
What you Should Do If you are a Potential Cannabis User
Those who are looking to be prescribed cannabis should start looking for a doctor that supports this type of treatment right now. It’s best to have a relationship already established than to wait until it’s moved through the legislature. To find these doctors, you can go to the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use website at www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use.
As mentioned before, patients should call their representatives so that they can encourage them to speed up the process of the implementation of Amendment 2. Everything that will be debated over the coming months should be decided with the patient first in mind.