It’s funny that legislature has taken over a year to get anywhere on the Compassionate Care Act, and yet as soon as Amendment 2 is on the ballot for this November we’re seeing some significant movement. It was in 2014 – when Amendment 2 almost passed just shy of 2% – that the Compassionate Care Act was signed into law.
Also known commonly as the Charlotte’s Web law, this Act allows licensed growers to cultivate and sell low-THC strains of marijuana to patients with severe seizure conditions such as epilepsy. This was all with the idea of helping hundreds of children in the state of Florida – and yet here we are in 2016 and a seed has yet to be planted.
Just recently the House had passed an expansion to the Compassionate Care Act through an amendment to the Right to Try Act, which allows terminally ill patients (diagnosed with less than 6 months left to live) to try experimental alternative medications. This expansion would include medical marijuana and a possible expansion on the number of licensed nurseries.
After being stripped to the bare minimum the bill passed through the House and the Senate and now awaits Governor Rick Scott’s signature or veto. The changes include allowing terminally ill to legally use medical marijuana (yes, this includes high-THC strains which were still banned prior) and expanding the number of licenses from 5 to 8.
The big catch with expanding the number of licenses is the fact that it won’t happen until the states registry of patients is over 250,000 people. With their new “dramatic increase” in patients only having a year left to live, I don’t see the number of patients jumping to 250,000 very quickly.
Don’t let the disguise of a helpful program fool you. The idea they are offering up only provides a solution for a small number of the patients who would and could benefit from medical marijuana. What about people suffering from severe depression and anxiety who don’t find relief in medicines like Xanax and other pills?
This statement by John Morgan from a press release from United for Care sums it up pretty well, I think…
Attorney John Morgan, United for Care’s Chairman, said, “Once again, Tallahassee politicians are putting their own campaigns before medical science and the rights of doctors. This law would do nothing for people like my brother, a quadriplegic, or any other person who has intractable pain. It does nothing to help cancer patients who need marijuana to counter the affects of chemo. It does nothing for our solders with PTSD or patients with MS. The bill is typical Tallahassee window dressing, designed more to help with campaigns than serve as a true means of access for those that need it. Hospice centers have another drug. It’s called morphine.”
So remember folks – don’t let them fool you with what’s happening in the legislature right now. If it was up to them, we wouldn’t even have gotten as far as licensing those five nurseries. If we leave it in their hands, patients could go for years without access.