Patients will soon be able to buy medical marijuana after lawmakers passed legislation yesterday putting Amendment 2 firmly into effect. Amendment 2 was on the Presidential electoral ballot to allow medical marijuana in the state of Florida. Just before the July deadline, after a special session with candidate for Governor Adam Putnam, lawmakers were able to work on the bill for the House of Representatives and get both bills to agree on language and laws regarding medical marijuana, so that Gov. Rick Scott can pass the bills into law.

Sweeping approval

The bills were approved 29-6 in the House and 103-9 in the Senate. Under the second amendment in Florida’s Constitution, patients with conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy will have access to the drug. The legislation will add 10 new growers by October of this year, bringing the total growers to 17 statewide. Patients can access cannabis in the form of pills, oils, edibles, and through vapor pens like e-cigarettes under a doctor's approval. But patients are unable to smoke the whole plant under the smoking prohibition clause in the Amendment.

Legislation had a 60-day session in May that failed to reach an agreement. Adam Putnam and lawyer John Morgan met with lawmakers to work on the issues.

Some of the provisions discussed in the special session are as follows: chronic pain sufferers, more growers to be added to the existing cannabis program that was made after legalizing Charlotte’s Web for epilepsy patients, and dispensary caps made by cities and counties in Florida.

Patients who have chronic pain can have access to medical marijuana under Amendment 2, but if and only if their pain is caused by another qualifying condition.

This means patients who have auto-immune disorders that cause chronic pain such as Fibromyalgia can use cannabis to help with their pain.

Dispensary caps made in cities and counties throughout Florida will be overruled because it acts as an inhibitor to medical marijuana growth and distribution under Amendment 2. However, cities can ban dispensaries if they do not meet certain criteria to stay in business.

Legal disagreements

There is a chance that the courts will have a voice in how the amendment should be implemented. Activists will see lawsuits over the legislation and lawmakers may expect to be in court as well. There is language in the Amendment 2 bill that separates the bill into pieces for judges in the judicial system to invalidate parts of the bill without dismissing the entire amendment altogether. John Morgan is putting together a lawsuit to combat the prohibition of smoking medical marijuana.