Two years after voters narrowly rejected a medical marijuana law in Florida, the state overwhelmingly passed Amendment 2 last week. But despite the 4 million votes cast on Election Day to legalize cannabis for medical use, patients eager to access medicine may have a long wait ahead of them as the Legislature gears up to debate the measure and how to implement it.

The new law could be rolled out by the state Department of Health without input from lawmakers, but past precedent suggests Question 2 will become the subject of vigorous debate once the 2017 legislative session begins in March. Lawmakers in the past have criticized medical legalization as a slippery slope to adult-use laws, and as such have regulated the state’s medical system tightly. Under a law last year allowing for low-THC medicinal cannabis, patients are required to obtain approval from two certified doctors, after which a 90-day waiting period takes effect.

“You want to get patients access to this as quickly as possible to find out if it really does help them.”

Jeff Sharkey, Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida

Advocates worry a similarly restrictive approach to rolling out Amendment 2 could make delays under the new system, too. Jeff Sharkey, who co-runs the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, told Orlando’s News 13 that extending current limits to the new law would be an affront to the spirit of a law that residents passed overwhelmingly on Election Day, with 71.3 percent in favor.

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“There’s no reason to have (patients) wait 90 days, and there’s no reason to have them see another doctor, necessarily,” Sharkey said. “For children, it may be a little bit different, but really, you want to get patients access to this as quickly as possible to

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