The Florida Medical Marijuana Problem Is a Huge Loophole
The federal government will continue to rely on state and local authorities to deal with marijuana activities by enforcing state narcotics laws, according to a memorandum released by the Department of Justice on August 29, 2013. Nonetheless, the Department specified eight criteria to assist state law enforcement in light of new laws allowing for possessing small amounts of marijuana and regulating production, processing, and sale. The actual Interesting Info about GOLD COAST CLEAR DISPOSABLES.
The states have a responsibility to (1) stop the distribution of marijuana to minors, (2) keep criminal organizations from profiting off of marijuana sales, (3) stop the movement of marijuana from legal to illegal states, (4) stop the use of marijuana as a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs, (5) stop the use of violence and firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, and (6) stop drugged driving.
If the federal government finds that individual states are not meeting these conditions, it may decide to challenge those states’ legislation. However, the federal government was silent on how this would be accomplished. The only thing they stated was that the states should do it. However, Florida seems to have turned a blind eye.
Florida has overlooked critical concerns in passing CS/CS/SB 1030. Think about the following aspects of the new legislation:
For patients with specific medical ailments, it legalizes “low-THC cannabis” upon a doctor’s or osteopathic physician’s recommendation. In what ways? Illnesses like cancer, epilepsy, and chronic muscle spasms. It seems to make sense. The Florida legislature veered off course when they opted to
If the patient is a Florida resident and the physician thinks the risks of prescribing marijuana are acceptable, then the patient meets the criteria for eligibility for this medication. How can a doctor know if a patient is a legal resident of the country? Is there any safety net to protect me if I make that choice honestly? Nope. How does a doctor decide what is “reasonable”? Does medical school even require its students to learn about the effects of marijuana? No.
Educating prescribing physicians through an eight-hour course is the duty of the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association as of October 1, 2014. How FMA and FOMA drafters determined eight hours (does that include water and bathroom breaks?) and why the FMA and FOMA sought that assignment (beyond collecting non-dues funds) are mysteries.
There is also a lack of discussion on how this training relates to the regular work of these doctors. What about an orthopedist? Sure. Isn’t a pathologist needed here? Sure thing. Who treats skin? Not. Why would a well-established doctor choose to switch careers? What part of that makes using a highly skilled cardiologist, family doctor, or anesthesiologist the “highest and best use”? An eight-hour course is sufficient to determine whether a patient with cancer or severe seizures might benefit from medicinal marijuana treatment.
I had assumed that knowledge of internal medicine, neurology, and even cancer would be helpful. Is this law motivated by a desire to ensure equal access to resources, or does it have a more charitable goal? The point seems to be missed.
According to reports, drug diversion is a persistent problem in Florida. Visitors flock to Florida for the weather and the abundance of oxycodone, Roxicodone, and other narcotics. Has that issue been resolved? Was law enforcement participating in discussions on public safety? Did they sit in on the meeting where the measure was drafted? I can’t say for sure, but I doubt they had much to do with the new legislation. It looks like we’ve just handed them this problem.
For instance, where is the field test detecting drivers high on weed (recreational or medical)? They made it up! The general people cannot be shielded from this danger at this time. Please send it to a confirmation lab, wait for a day or two (at a high cost to the taxpayers), and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it’s a regulation with no natural teeth; all the money made by licensing and training doctors will go to the government and opportunistic enterprises.
A positive development is that legislators have resolved to look into the feasibility of medical marijuana. Yep. They are saving a BILLION dollars for it. To examine cannabidiol and its effect on intractable infantile epilepsy, the Department of Health Biomedical Research Program requested one million dollars (about the cost of a website).
If the Department of Health is required by law to establish a Compassionate Use Registry that (among other things) prevents a patient from seeking prescribed pot from multiple physicians; sets up dispensing organizations throughout Florida; and polices the trained physicians, the dispensing organizations, and the patients who may be abusing the law, where will the rest of the money come from? I don’t know.
Why not look into it before giving the plan the go-ahead? Colorado and Washington have been at the forefront of this movement, but why rush to adopt a law without first investigating public health and clinical issues?
The Suggested Alteration
The Florida constitutional amendment proposal makes the legislature’s work appear flawless. But, unfortunately, it paints the whole thing as a smokescreen for the fundamental goal of easing into commercial and recreational use. The amendment, for instance, legalizes the benefit of all forms of marijuana for medical purposes, not only low-THC strains, for “other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.” As a lawyer, I can translate this for you. It can be translated as “anything.” Oh, and much more importantly, the individual making such a decision? A “physician,” defined by Florida law, is not limited to medical doctors but includes other healthcare professionals like dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and optometrists.
The proposed amendment is positive since it outlaws using or possessing marijuana in any public setting, including schools and workplaces. According to Florida statute, [vaping] does not constitute “smoking.” Good. How will we evaluate candidates now? There is not yet a simple, on-the-spot method of testing blood levels.
Therefore, let’s be honest: the proposed amendment is just a method to create a new sector that genuinely can’t be controlled, one that has no agreed-upon science behind it, and one that physicians have not had the opportunity to digest or conceive of seriously. Simply put, it’s bogging down in the muck. Legislation of this nature ought to be informed by medical professionals and scientists.
Now let’s review the standards set forth by the Department of Justice. Does the Florida law, or the modification suggested to it, achieve any of these goals? Nope. Instead, it transfers the entire load to the already strained judicial system. Do they make it so minors can’t buy pot? Just words. What’s the deal with the money? Do they stop criminal organizations from benefiting from the selling of marijuana? No. Do they prevent marijuana from being smuggled from legal to illegal states? No. Do they stop narcotics smuggling from occurring under the guise of marijuana activity? Huh? Do they reduce the likelihood of violence and weapons usage in the marijuana industry? No mention at all.
How about we do something about the increased risk of impaired driving and other adverse public health effects of marijuana use? No such device currently exists. Do they make it illegal to cultivate marijuana or use it anywhere under federal jurisdiction? Please.
What are the implications of medical marijuana for the ADA? Will the new federal law guarantee medication access for cancer patients? Will doctors face the consequences if they don’t prescribe it? Is there a problem if it’s a painkiller? Is it necessary to have a permit for a pain clinic?
Given that, it is illegal at the federal level, where is the protection for legally prescribing it? Is there a deal that Florida made with the feds, or are we just going to have to accept that there are some federal laws (criminal ones) that we may safely ignore? No one can make sense of that.
Those with the most pessimistic outlooks would likely view the law and the proposed modification as a greedy grab for profit by the government and the corporate community. The most realistic among us believe medical marijuana may have been used and that the topic requires study and cautious attention because of the potential for both private and public health dangers. Many seriously ill persons have reported dramatic improvements after trying medical marijuana. However, the state’s approach to the problem doesn’t look like it’s conducting a thorough analysis of medicinal marijuana’s efficacy. A mosh pit of expectation or avarice, at best.
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