Sunday Lead Letter: Change in enforcement policy on marijuana may have a huge impact in Florida – Florida Times-Union
There are many questions regarding how Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ change to federal enforcement policy may affect states like Florida that have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Here are two of them:
• Will this change in enforcement policy lead to medical patients — who suffer with pain from debilitating chronic diseases — being prohibited from receiving medicinal marijuana in the future?
• By withdrawing previous federal guidelines that effectively limited prosecutions of state cannabis businesses — and the individual use and possession of marijuana in conformity with state laws that permit it — how will Sessions’ move to change federal enforcement policy impact the direct will of the citizens in the 29 states and District of Columbia that have legalized medicinal marijuana?
FLORIDIANS CLEARLY SUPPORT IT
In the state of Florida, Amendment 2 was approved by approximately 71 percent of voters.
Medical marijuana is now available as permitted by statute in Florida to individuals suffering from medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other similar debilitating conditions.
Florida also permits the use of medical marijuana for patients with terminal conditions under the Right to Try Act.
In short, the citizens of Florida have overwhelmingly supported the use of medical marijuana under controlled and regulated circumstances.
The new federal enforcement policy will create even more ambiguity in potential law enforcement concerns for those businesses — as well as for those individuals who depend on the use of this product to have a better quality of life.
Robert F. Lewis, Miami
Lewis is a partner at LewisFox, a law firm in Miami. He was previously a special agent with the Florida Division of Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco.