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Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Health | 0 comments

Why Florida Needs More Than Amendment 2 in the Fight for Legal Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been a controversial subject for years. Nevertheless, as more and more people recognize the benefit of using marijuana’s medical applications, its use has become more common in treating a number of health conditions. With Florida becoming one of the most recent states to expand legislation for medical marijuana, there are many people celebrating in the Sunshine State.

Unfortunately, the passage of Amendment 2 doesn’t mean that all sick individuals throughout Florida can qualify for medical marijuana. Instead, it states that Florida must develop regulations for maintaining Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, or MMTCs. There are still a few requirements that the state must follow to ensure the people use the drug safely and appropriately.

Here are a few of the gaps that Florida must cover to fully moderate and protect the use of marijuana medically.

The Location and Number of MMTCs

Amendment 2 does not mention how Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers will be expanded or developed. However, because Amendment 2 gives control to Florida’s Department of Health, they may choose to keep the number of centers to a minimum to oversee the use of the drug.

How cities and counties react to having these Treatment Centers is also something to consider. Because some believe that an MMTC will pull in individuals attempting to acquire marijuana without a medical prescription, those with prescriptions wonder how easy it will actually be to visit a treatment center.

Amendment 2 also does not state how close MMTCs can be to locations like schools or playgrounds. These are crucial aspects to consider when ensuring the protection of children or sensitive individuals.

Who can Access MMTCs?

Amendment 2 does not specifically outline who can apply to use a Florida Medical Marijuana Center, making it difficult to see who will actually benefit from its passing. While the list of potentially eligible conditions is long, understanding what the system will actually look like is a little more difficult.

The cost of applying or using a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center is also not clear. In the past, the cost of applying to a Charlotte’s Web Nursery was pretty steep. Many Florida residents are hoping that because Amendment 2 opens more doors for medical marijuana use, it will mean a cheaper application fee.

Residency requirements are also not mentioned in Amendment 2. This leaves it unclear if residents from surrounding states can enter Florida to make use of the MMTCs. Existing medical marijuana laws make it difficult for outside residents to benefit from Florida’s medical marijuana, but we won’t know of future laws until the Department of Health addresses them. Residency requirements for owning and operating an MMTC are also not outlined throughout Amendment 2.

Another question that the Department of Health will need to answer is who will be able to run and manage the Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. Amendment 2 does not state whether or not owners or managers can have any kind of criminal record. Because it’s common for there to be steep laws in place in states where medical marijuana is legal, we can expect Florida to implement some strict rules and regulations surrounding MMTC owners and managers.

What Happens to Charlotte’s Web Nurseries?

Back in 2014, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was passed. This law granted the use of a specific type of marijuana, known as “Charlotte’s Web,” for medical use. In order to grow and dispense this form of marijuana, Florida introduced Charlotte’s Web Nurseries. While Charlotte’s Web Nurseries did grant access to medical marijuana for some, it didn’t make it easy for those in need to get their hands on the drug.

With the passage of Amendment 2 and the introduction of MMTCs, we still don’t know what will happen to the Charlotte’s Web Nurseries. Because Amendment 2 does not clearly state how medical marijuana will be grown for the new MMTCs, it’s possible that the Department of Health will give pass along their control to the nurseries that already exist.

Should the Department of Health choose to give existing nurseries the licenses for the new MMTCs, it can save them a lot of time, trouble and debate. However, doing this can also cause a few problems for residents hoping to receive benefits from a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center.

While Amendment 2 can be seen as a leap towards easy medical marijuana use in the state of Florida, there are still a few wrinkles that will need to be ironed out before the celebrations begin. These are just a few of the gaps that the Department of Health must fill before Florida residents can begin to see the benefit of Amendment 2. Until the Department of Health addresses these questions, it’s hard to say just how big of a step passing this amendment really is.

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