Lawmakers target Department of Health salaries and expenses after medical marijuana delays – WPTV.com
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Dr. Ahmed El-Haddad with Mari J MD Medical Marijuana says the rollout here in Florida has worked in some respects.
“The state of Florida is doing a good job regulating the dispensaries and regulating the access to make sure it’s not going into the wrong hands,” said El-Haddad.
It’s a system he says that still has a lot of room for improvement.
“It’s taking too long for (patients) to get approved and be allowed to go to the dispensary to pick up medical marijuana. For them to wait three to four weeks to get a card, when they can go get an opioid within two hours from their doctor … that to me is unacceptable.”
Backlogs have become a major issue, not just approval for patient identification cards, but also for growing and dispensing licenses.
It’s gotten so bad that last October a legislative committee starting sending the Department of Health letters demanding answers.
Now, lawmakers are taking things one step further.
In the House’s 2018 – 2019 budget proposal, an amendment would freeze $2.1 million in salaries and expenses until DOH fixes the issues.
State Rep. Jason Brodeur, who introduced the amendment, released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
“The legislature has grown tired of hauling the office of compassionate use into their meetings to ask why they are not executing their legislatively prescribed duties. So now we are going to withhold salary and benefits until they respond to the 15 JAPC letters they have been sent since October 3rd, 2017. Regardless of any personal feelings about Amendment 2, it’s now law. A lot of us have worked very hard to craft responsible policy in our state and the office of compassionate use has undermined implementation at every turn. If we now put their