Medical Marijuana Issue in Florida: One Big Pot Hole

Medical Marijuana Issue in Florida: One Big Pot Hole

With August 29, 2013, the Federal Department of Justice issued a new memorandum stating it will continue to rely on state and local professionals to address marijuana activity through enforcement of state narcotics laws. Nevertheless, in light of new state laws allowing for possession of a small amounts of marijuana and regulating production, processing and sale of marijuana, the Department designated eight set of guidelines to guide state law enforcement. States must (1) prevent the circulation of marijuana to minors; (2) prevent revenue from sale of marijuana from flowing to criminal establishments; (3) prevent the diversion of marijuana from states everywhere it is legal to states where it is illegal; (4) prevent marijuana activity from being used as a cover for often the trafficking of other illegal drugs; (5) prevent violence of any kind and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; (6) prevent drugged driving and the exacerbation associated with other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; (7) prevent the growth of marijuana on public lands; and (8) prevent marijuana possession or use on federal residence. In the event that the Federal Government determines that States are not adhering to these criteria, the Federal Government reserves its right to challenge State legal guidelines. The Feds didn’t say how any of that was for being done. They simply said the states should do that. Although Florida has apparently been looking the other way.

The fresh Law

In passing CS/CS/SB 1030, Florida has neglected some key issues. Consider, for instance, the new law, which contains the following features:

It makes “low-THC cannabis” legal when prescribed by doctors by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician for a patient having certain medical conditions. Which conditions? Cancer, seizures, severe as well as persistent muscle spasms. Seems clear enough. Here’s where the Fl Legislature decided to go off track-

A patient is considered qualified to take delivery of this treatment if (among other things), the patient is a long-lasting resident of Florida and the doctor determines that the threats of ordering the pot are reasonable. How does a physician evaluate if the patient is a permanent resident? Is there any protection for creating that decision in good faith? Nope. How does a physician make the reasonableness determination? Is the study of marijuana use even the main medical school curriculum? No .

Surprisingly, the Florida Health Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association have liability, starting October, 1, 2014, to educate prescribing physicians by means of an eight hour education course. How the Legislature thought we would allocate that function to the FMA and FOMA, the reason they even want that task (beyond collecting not for dues revenues) and how the drafters came up with eight a long time (does that include water and bathroom breaks? ) is often a wonder. And how such training pertains at all to the regular medical practice of the physicians taking such a course is likewise absent. Can an orthopedist do it? Sure. What about your pathologist? You bet. A dermatologist? No problem. Why would a prosperous, practicing physician decide to pursue this new direction? How is the “highest and best use” for an excellently trained cardiologist, family practitioner or anesthesiologist? Assessing a patient with cancer or who has awful seizures who might benefit from okc marijuana dispensary medical marijuana requires no more than an eight hour course? I thought it required training in internal medicine, neurology and… malignancy. So , is this a medically, clinically driven law meant to help people in need or one that just makes sure all people gets their piece of the pie? It seems to neglect the mark.

Florida has reportedly had a long as well as lingering problem with the issue of drug diversion. People by all over have come to Florida not just for the sun, but also for the exact oxies, roxies and many other controlled substances. Has that challenge been licked? Was law enforcement consulted on any of the open safety issues involved in the law? Were they in the drafting bedroom when the bill was created? I don’t know, but it is hard to discover any of their fingerprints on the new law. It seems we are just dumped this issue on them! Where, for instance, is the roadside test to test people operating motor vehicles under the influence of pot, healthcare marijuana or otherwise? It doesn’t exist! There is no way to protect anyone from this yet. The best they can do is to send the item off to a confirmation lab and wait a day perhaps (at a large expense the taxpayers will bear). It can be a law without meaningful consequences, and all doctor training rates and licensure fees will do is put money in the very pockets of the government and businesses waiting to pounce on the opportunity.

One bright spot… the Legislature features decided to study the use of medical marijuana. Yep. They have let go of one BILLION… I mean million dollars (about the cost of a good website) for the Department of Health Biomedical Research Course to study cannabidol and its effect on intractable childhood epilepsy, quite a laudable seeming idea. So where will the rest of the money sourced from to do what the law mandates-the Department of Health should be to create a Compassionate Use Registry which (among other things) prevents a patient seeking prescribed pot from multiple health professionals; establishes dispensing organizations throughout Florida; polices the taught physicians, the dispensing organizations and patients who could possibly be abusing the law? Who knows. Question: why not study this PREVIOUS TO green lighting the whole idea? Colorado and Washington include both led the way on the issue, so why not study the public health and clinical issues before passing a law with so many available issues?