In January we learned about the State’s initial draft of proposed rules to govern Florida’s newly expanded medical marijuana program under Amendment 2. Our friends at Compassionate Cannabis Clinic of Venice discuss the proposed rules here and shared the information below about ways to get involved.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) also announced 5 public workshops to be held throughout the state during the week of February 5th-9th.
- Jacksonville – February 6
- Fort Lauderdale- February 7
- Tampa & Orlando – February 8
- Tallahassee- February 9
Locations and times are listed below.
Equally as important, the DOH launched a public input portal so you – the people of Florida – may share your thoughts about how you’d like to see medical marijuana administered.
One item of particular patient concern from the proposed rules follows:
- (e) “Qualifying debilitating medical condition” shall mean conditions eligible for physician ordering contained in s. 381.986(2), F.S., or cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis. Also, any debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, as determined by the Florida Board of Medicine.
You read that correctly. The state is suggesting it would like to restrict one of the most important aspects of the law to specific determinations made by the Board of Medicine.
This is clearly not within the intent of the authors of the Constitutional Amendment:
- Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions includes the listed specific debilitating conditions, but also includes any comparable debilitating conditions for which the physician believes the potential benefit outweighs the known risk. An individual physician makes the determination if a condition is comparable to those listed in the text of the amendment. Individuals without a debilitating condition would not qualify to receive medical marijuana under this Amendment.
Physicians, not politicians, should be determining who has a debilitating condition for which cannabis can better the quality of life.
As you know, we strongly believe in patient care, education, and advocacy. Now is time for all three! Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Join Our Private Facebook Group
- We created an invitation-only Facebook group for people interested in discussing medical cannabis access in Florida with Family Medical Cannabis Clinic (FMCC) team members and other families in our community. Right now we are discussing the upcoming Board of Health hearings. If you would like to join this group, please visit the Facebook page and ask to join.
2. Leave Your Comments with the State.
- Go to the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) Public Comment Form and tell the state:
- To allow qualified physicians make final eligibility decisions.
- To ensure licensing of patients be easy, quick, and inexpensive.
- To allow for available access to the medication. Medical Cannabis Treatment Centers (MCTC), cultivators, processors, and dispensaries must have an efficient licensing system. Taxes on the medication should not exceed Colorado’s standard of 10%. Flower (bud and vegetation) should be able to be sold as it is the most inexpensive form. Edibles should be allowed with proper child safe packaging such as pill bottles or blister packs. Limitations shouldn’t be placed on access – dispensaries should be able to provide for home delivery of medication, cities should allow for dispensaries to open in their communities.
3. Attend a Public Hearing
- JACKSONVILLE: February 6, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Duval County Health Department
900 University Blvd. North
Jacksonville, FL 32211
- FORT LAUDERDALE: February 7, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – noon
Broward County Health Department
780 SW 24th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
- TAMPA: February 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory
3602 Spectrum Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612
- ORLANDO: February 8, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Orange County Health Department
6102 Lake Ellenor Drive
Orlando, FL 32809
- TALLAHASSEE: February 9, 2017, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Betty Easley Conference Center
4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
If you are able to attend a hearing, please do. Empty public meetings usually result in ridiculous regulation. 71.3% of Florida voters said “yes” to Amendment 2, and the government needs to realize there is a very real public mandate to allow for people suffering to receive access to medication that may actually work to make their lives much better.
- Dr. David will all be in attendance at the Tampa meeting and would love for patients to join him there. We will sit together in the gallery so the legislature and Board of Health can see the range of people with debilitating illnesses awaiting their action.
- For general information, follow us on our WPFC Facebook and FMCC Facebook pages. We post news for the general public as it becomes available to us.
- Share information with your friends and family on social media and in person.
- Keep an eye out for developments in medical marijuana – both in Florida and elsewhere. news.google.com is a great resource.
- Educate yourself and others on the benefits of cannabis and its derivatives in relation to chronic conditions.
Now is the time to let our voices be heard. Please join our fight for medical cannabis patient rights in Florida!