A Florida dispensary finally opened its doors last month, offering patients registered with the state’s medical cannabis program the opportunity to purchase certain forms of medical marijuana.
More than two years since the passing of Florida’s cannabidiol-specific marijuana law, sales of medicinal cannabis have finally begun. Tallahassee dispensary Trulieve, owned by northwestern Florida’s Hackney Nursery, started selling low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) medical cannabis oil at the end of July.
Florida’s CBD-specific marijuana law passed in 2014. Senate Bill 1030, signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 16, 2014, allows medically qualified patients with a written recommendation from a licensed physician to get access to cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Under the law, patients can possess cannabis oil that contains 10 percent or more of CBD and no more than 8/10s of 1 percent of THC.
Despite all the effort of passing this law, establishing grow productions, educating doctors, and opening dispensaries, the people of Florida actually receive very little added benefit from the opening of these dispensaries, as CBD oil extracted from hemp, such as Real Scientific Hemp Oil™, have been available in the state for years, to anyone.
Because the cannabis oil being sold in Florida dispensaries contains up to 0.8% THC, it is considered medical marijuana, exposing it to strict state and federal regulations. However, CBD that is extracted from hemp contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, freeing it of these same restrictions.
CBD oil derived from hemp is legal to purchase and ship in the U.S. to all 50 states, including Florida, and 40 countries worldwide without a doctor’s recommendation or state authorization. These CBD hemp oil products include low-potency tinctures, convenient CBD capsules, and pure hemp oils.
Thus far, only 15 doctors in Florida have created profile’s in the state’s medical marijuana registry, and according to Florida’s Compassionate Use website, only about 100 doctors are registered for medical marijuana recommendation training. Florida physicians must take an eight-hour course and pass an exam on the use of medical marijuana before they are allowed to legally recommend the substance. Under the law, the recommendation for CBD must be a “last resort” for treatment.
“Patients should encourage their physicians to take the course to get certified but many won’t,” said Trulieve’s medical director Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith. “Many doctors are worried that marijuana is still illegal from a federal standpoint. But the federal government defunded enforcement efforts against doctors prescribing medical cannabis. So, to me, the general risk is none.”
Anyone looking to use cannabinoids are encouraged to research the effects for themselves from a trusted resource. This will help bridge the gap between their own knowledge and that of their doctor and ensure that the best options are explored for each individual, placing the best products in the hands of customers.
Five additional Florida dispensaries have been approved to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis. Surterra Therapeutics, located in southwestern Florida, was the first to acquire a license and after recently being approved for dispensing, plans to begin dispensing medical CBD later this summer. The other four dispensaries are currently growing cannabis and extracting the plant’s oils. Most plan to be ready to begin distribution before the end of the year.
In November, Florida voters will decide whether to legalize THC medical marijuana products. The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative is a comprehensive medical marijuana program that would allow Floridians to use full marijuana for treatment, provided they’re registered with the state and have a doctor’s recommendation. A similar medical marijuana initiative was defeated by two percentage points in 2014. However, a new poll from the United for Care Campaign found that 77 percent of likely Florida voters support the upcoming ballot initiative.
In the meantime, those in Florida or anywhere in the U.S. interested in using CBD can learn more by visiting our CBD hemp oil guide.