Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment Approved

Patients suffering from debilitating illnesses will soon have access to medical marijuana in Florida after voters approved Amendment 2 Tuesday.

By 8:30 p.m. it was clear that Amendment 2 would pass with well above the required 60 percent threshold. The amendment inserts language into the Florida Constitution allowing those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and a host of other conditions to use marijuana if it is recommended by their doctor.

“Getting over 60 percent at this point means so much both symbolically and legally because we’re able to relinquish the name of criminals that has been forced on us,” said Moriah Barnhart of Brandon, whose daughter Dahlia uses cannabis as treatment for brain cancer after being diagnosed at age 2.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election-results/article113444523.html


Florida Medical Marijuana Business Formation

Florida Medical Marijuana Business FormationMedical marijuana is a hot topic issue that has been in the news for years, but more recently is gaining serious momentum as more and more states are declaring medical marijuana legal. This issue has been a highly discussed topic in Florida politics.

As of now, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 allows for the use of a low potency medical marijuana for those patients who are suffering from cancer or any conditions that would cause seizures or severe and chronic muscle spasms.

In the 2014 midterm election, the Florida Amendment 2 was introduced that would allow for marijuana to be used for other treatments of diseases and chronic pain, expanding the current standard. Voters ended up shutting it down and the amendment never went through. The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative has the potential to again make an appearance, but this time in the 2016 November ballot. Lawmakers have suggested adjusting the verbiage to include more diseases that would be legal for medical marijuana treatment and would outline other types of cannabis that would be allowed to be used for medical reasons.

It’s important to understand these medical marijuana laws, especially as they are seemingly constantly changing, not just for citizens, but also for businesses. One misstep can put your business under the microscope, possibly shutting it down and resulting in criminal charges against the business owner.

If you own a business that is involved in the medical marijuana industry, it wouldn’t hurt to enlist the expertise of an experienced lawyer to explain the laws as they exist and consistently update you as the laws change.

Being in the medical marijuana business can be extremely rewarding as those involved have the opportunity to help patients who are suffering from severe diseases and pain. If you are a business in the industry, you can find a law firm that will represent you, as well as the doctors, nurses, clinics and dispensaries, to be sure that all laws are being followed and you are running your business, no matter what part of it, to the best of your ability.

If you have not yet entered into the medical marijuana business, but are looking to get involved, you should know that it involves many steps before you can set up shop, and a lot of paperwork. You have to be aware of up to date regulations and laws and get all of the proper licenses.

If you need an attorney the Walser Law Firm represents medical marijuana industry professionals and businesses throughout Florida.

Medical marijuana will appear on 2016 ballot

medical-marijuana-2016Back in November, Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana, needed 60 percent of the votes in order to pass. It fell short by a mere 2 percent. United for Care, the medical marijuana group that made Amendment 2 possible, is petitioning to get Amendment 2 back on the ballot for 2016.

United for Care, in conjunction with advocate attorney John Morgan, announced that the secretary of state approved the new petition for consideration on the 2016 ballots.

United for Care is optimistic that the petition will pass this time, in part due to the fact that voter turnout increases in primary elections as opposed to midterm elections, and backed by the percentage of those who already support the initiative.

United for Care also has an idea of mistakes they made last time, and is eager to not make the same mistakes in preparation for the 2016 presidential election. They are also confident that legislative action or another constitutional amendment will result in the legalization of medical marijuana by 2016. United for Care hopes that this time around they will have more of an opportunity to educate voters on the particulars of the initiative, including defining what the bill will and will not do.

The main opposition Amendment 2 faced was the verbiage used in the bill. No on 2, the amendment’s opposition, argued that the language presented was too loosely defined and would result in doctor’s prescribing medical marijuana to just about anyone. While United for Care released a marketing campaign to negate these concerns, the sheer negative publicity was enough to hurt Amendment 2. United for Care will be more deliberate this time around when it comes to defining the parameters of the bill.

Parental consent will be defined more clearly, as well as adding requirements for verification by the Florida Department of Health. The new petition also clearly outlines the definition for debilitating diseases that would be covered for medical marijuana prescriptions. The new parameters also address that any malpractice will not be immune and will be treated accordingly. The Department of Health will also require the ability to conduct background checks on caregivers.

The petition needs 70,000 signatures just to be reviewed by the Supreme Court, and then another 700,000 to get on the ballot in 2016. In 2014, United for Care collected over one million signatures, so they hope to gain the same traction from supporters in preparation for the 2016 election.


Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Florida Senate

medical marijuanaEpileptic children who suffer from debilitating seizures would be able to legally turn to a non-smokable, low-THC variety of medical marijuana for relief under a measure given final approval by state senators Monday.

Named after a Colorado child, the strain of cannabis known as “Charlotte’s Web” is high in the non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD), and low in the high-inducing chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Sen. Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, who sponsored the bill with two fellow GOP senators, said he opposed legalizing marijuana but wholeheartedly supported extending help to “desperate parents.”

“These desperate parents have tried everything,” Bradley said. “Under current law, they are criminals…and that’s not right, any law that defines them as criminal defies commons sense.”

Given as an oil-based extract placed under the child’s tongue, “Charlotte’s Web” has “the potential to stop seizures,” said co-sponsor, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.

“We’ve seen the number of seizures go from 400 to 300 [a month], to three or four or two, or in some cases zero,” Bean said. “Let’s bring that hope to Florida.”

An 11-year-old Gulf Breeze girl, Ray Ann Moseley, who suffers from daily, crippling seizures and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy, visited the Senate chamber prior to Monday’s 36-3 vote.

Gangly and wide-eyed, she stood when she was introduced amid applause, briefly placing her hands over her ears.

“This is about kids, this about kids who have a health problem,” Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, said. “Let’s get the focus off of the drug and let’s get the focus on the patient.”

Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, called for a resounding defeat of SB 1030, saying there needed to be more oversight by the Federal Drug Administration.

“I truly believe we need to stick to good science and that we need to take an approach that is proven,” Altman said. “Ultimately, the compassionate thing is to develop a scientific method to ensure that this happens.”

Joining Altman in dissent were Senators Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

Under the proposed legislation, the state Department of Health would be responsible for regulation and oversight.

The House companion bill (HB 843) is poised for a floor vote in that chamber. Under that version, doctors who fraudulently prescribe “Charlotte’s Web” could face jail time and fines.

In November, Florida voters will weigh in when they cast ballots on a constitutional amendment legalizing all forms of medical marijuana.