Bill Would Grant Terminally Ill Floridians Access to Medical Marijuana

Bill Would Grant Terminally Ill Floridians Access to Medical Marijuana
Photo by O'Dea | WikiCommons, CC2.0

Poll numbers suggest that Florida's march to medical marijuana is inevitably, but it sure is taken a long time to get there. Sure, lawmakers approved non-smokable and non-euphoric "Charlotte's Web" medicinal marijuana for a narrow slice of patients back in 2014, but so far the state has stalled on actually getting that medicine into people's hands. 

Now, two Republican lawmakers have announced they've filed a bill that would allow another narrow segment of patients access to medical marijuana of all strengths and types.  

Florida recently passed the "Right to Try" act, which allowed terminally ill patients access to experimental medications and treatments that have passed phase one of an FDA clinical trial but are not yet approved and available for wide use. State Rep. Matt Gaetz and state Sen. Rob Bradley have announced that they'll file bills that would add marijuana to that bill. 

Unlike the Charlotte's Web bill, this would include all forms of medical marijuana. However, it still wouldn't lead to the type of medical marijuana laws passed in several other states. 

Only terminally ill patients would be eligible. The law describes a terminal condition as one that "will result in death within one year after diagnosis if the condition runs its normal course" and is not considered reversible by available medicines or procedures.

So, sorry, grandma. Glaucoma sucks, but it's not gonna kill you. No medical marijuana for you. 

That also means patients who want to use marijuana to treat chronic pain or counteract the harsh side effects of other medications are also out of luck.

We're really talking about a very, very narrow group of people if the "Right to Try" law is applied as written. Though, it could help some. 

“It’s providing this treatment option, on a decision by the doctor, patient and the family,” Bradley told the Palm Beach Post. “If they can try experimental drugs, they should also be able to try high-potency marijuana.”

Efforts to put a more broad medical marijuana law onto Florida's book through a constitutional amendment are still underway. 

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