Our view: How medical marijuana will play out for Florida patients – TCPalm
State lawmakers recently reached an agreements on Amendment 2, but banned smoking medical marijuana. We asked readers for their opinions. HANNAH SCHWAB/TCPALM Wochit
Marijuana plants grow June 17, 2015, at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn.(Photo: AP Photo/Jim Mone)
On balance, the Legislature did a pretty good job on medical marijuana.
After failing during the regular session to reach an agreement on how Amendment 2 should be implemented, legislators reconvened in a special session, crafting a pragmatic set of rules.
Patients who suffer chronic pain related to 10 qualifying conditions — including epilepsy, cancer, ALS, multiple sclerosis and other afflictions — may receive either low-THC cannabis or full-strength medical marijuana.
The Legislature also increased the number of “medical marijuana treatment centers” which grow, process and sell the product. By October, there will 17 centers, each permitted a maximum of 25 retail outlets, dispersed among five regions of the state. The number of outlets will rise gradually until the cap expires in 2020.
There’s no waiting period for new patients, and thousands of Florida physicians, including more than three dozen on the Treasure Coast, have completed the required 8-hour education course and are qualified to prescribe medical marijuana.
Vero Beach has approved the first dispensary in our area, and St. Lucie County has determined it will permit up to eight dispensaries. Port St. Lucie could consider a draft medical marijuana ordinance by July.
In theory, all this should mean those who need medical marijuana will have reasonable access to it. See a qualified doctor who determines whether you have a qualified condition. If so, he or she could write you a prescription, which you fill at your friendly neighborhood dispensary (or, if one is not