With Florida’s current highly restrictive cannabis oil law that provides little additional benefits to patients, voters and cannabis businesses are in strong support of an upcoming medical marijuana ballot initiative.
It’s been over two years since Florida implemented its medical cannabidiol (CBD)-specific law, but the market has yet to really get off the ground. Now voters are turning their eyes toward this coming November when they’ll get to decide on Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that, if approved, would legalize full medical marijuana for individuals with specific debilitating diseases like cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and epilepsy.
Under the current law, signed by Governor Rick Scott in June 2014, medically qualified patients suffering from seizures, muscle spasms or cancer and with written consent from a licensed physician can use cannabis oil that contains 10 percent or more of CBD and no more than 8/10s of 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Only vape oils, capsules and tinctures are allowed.
The highly restrictive law doesn’t provide much additional benefit to the people of Florida. As of September 26, the state had just 331 patients and only 116 physicians registered for its Compassionate Use Registry.
Additionally, CBD extracted from hemp, including Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s Real Scientific Hemp OilTM, has been legal and available for years in Florida. Because CBD that is extracted from hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC by weight, it isn’t considered medical marijuana and is therefore not exposed to the same state and federal regulations. CBD oil derived from hemp is legal to purchase in all 50 U.S. states, including Florida, and doesn’t require a doctor’s recommendation and state authorization.
If Florida voters elect to approve Amendment 2, the state could become one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country. Marijuana Business Daily suggests that with a population of 20 million, Florida has the potential of having a medical marijuana market that is out valued only by California’s.
“If [Amendment 2] passes, that will fundamentally change the market, and [existing business owners] want to be ready,” said Jeff Sharkey, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.
Besides reducing restrictions and allowing for the sale of full medical marijuana, Amendment 2 would allow medicinal cannabis to be recommended for 10 conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, the amendment would allow licensed physicians to certify patients with some “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated.”
“We’ve scaled up from the beginning,” Florida dispensary owner Monica Russell told Marijuana Business Daily. “If Amendment 2 passes, we would be able to meet patient demand immediately.”
It appears that the measure does have a strong chance of being approved. A recent poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found that 73 percent of registered voters in Florida support Amendment 2, while 22 percent oppose it.
Florida is one of four states voting on medical marijuana initiatives this November. Five states will decide on whether to legalize recreational marijuana.
Those in Florida or anywhere in the U.S. that are interested in learning more about CBD can visit our CBD hemp oil guide. You can learn more about Florida’s current cannabis laws by visiting our education page and keep up with the ever-developing cannabis-related legislative changes by checking out our news feed.