Proposed changes to Florida's medical-marijuana laws are causing concern

By Shanice Harris | Mar 13, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health is proposing rule changes to the medical-marijuana law in the state.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health is proposing rule changes to the medical-marijuana law in the state.

The purpose of the new Amendment 2 medical-marijuana law — which passed with more than 70 percent of the vote — was to allow the drug to be provided to individuals suffering from debilitating diseases that were not covered under previous laws in the state. But as the Sun-Sentinel reported, a proposed rule would require that the state Board of Medicine make the decision on if a person needs the drug, instead of the patient’s doctor.

Michael Minardi, an attorney and a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is advocating that government stay out of the way of concerns between patients and their doctors. He does not believe it is going to be a successful program in the long run.

“They have created a monopoly in the state with seven entities controlling the entire market,” Minardi told the Florida Record. “This prevents competition in the marketplace, which results in lower-quality products, higher prices and less availability, and there is no real choice for patients for products. They also do their own testing and quality control, providing no guarantees patients are getting safe, quality medication.”

Minardi said any law that prevents the decision to use medical marijuana between the doctor and the patients does not go with the original intent of the voters or Amendment 2.

“In many of the bills currently introduced, they require doctors to go above and beyond in documenting the illness and reason for recommendations for patients,” Minardi said. “They are keeping the black market alive by creating so many bars and so little choices for doctors and patients.”

Minardi, a supporter and advocate of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, plans on continuing to educate the government entities. If nothing is initially done, after nine months the amendment allows a lawsuit to be filed to enforce the amendment, according to Minardi.

“The only solutions would be to continue to educate the Legislature, continue to show up at hearings, file lawsuits, and get everyone to support Regulate Florida and adult use,” he said. “The best way to fight against the monopolies and Legislature is to pass Regulate Florida so people can grow their own and use cannabis the way they want to and there is nothing the Legislature can do to stop them. The Legislature is now afraid of the power of the people, and that is why they are trying to increase the voting requirements to 67 percent.”

Minardi believes there needs to be a complete overhaul of the medical and recreational marijuana business not only in the state of Florida, but also nationwide.

“The current system is going to continue to make criminals out of patients and continue to put money into prisons instead of turning it into profits,” he said.

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