The History of MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW in FLORIDA
Marijuana use has been a part of our global culture for thousands of years before the United States was a nation when a Chinese emperor prescribed it to his troops. Though it has been widely accepted as a medical treatment throughout the ages, the United States has a widely varied view of using the drug. It was used widely before the rise of morphine and other drugs to treat pain, nausea, and neurological conditions. However, the view of medical marijuana lost favor with the American people in the early 1900s as it was viewed as a dangerous drug. In response, the government introduced the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 which put restrictions on marijuana as well as other drugs such as opium and morphine. In 1914, the consumption of these drugs has deemed a crime under the Harrison Act.
By 1937, 23 states had outlawed the use of marijuana and the federal government passed the Marihuana Tax Act that outlawed the non-medical use of non-medical marijuana nationwide. Though perception began swinging back to the favorable in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Reagan administration enacted new policies on drugs that made the use of it illegal and subject to stiff penalties.
States continued to recognize the positive effects that medical marijuana could have on medical conditions, however and began legalizing the use of it in 1996. California was the first state to decriminalize medical marijuana, followed by Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Maine. Florida has long been one of the states in the nation with one of the most conservative and limited laws allowing medical marijuana. Up until 2016, Florida limited the use of medical marijuana to those with terminal diseases, cancer, or chronic seizures or spasms. This limited number of individuals, if qualified to purchase medical marijuana, could only buy low-THC, non-smoked cannabis. THC, the psychoactive chemical in many strains of marijuana, can often be the key ingredient in treating a number of conditions.
Passing of Amendment 2
On November 8th of 2016, Florida residents passed Amendment 2 by 71 percent. The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative expanded the number of conditions that could be legally treated by medical marijuana. The ten conditions now include:
Cancer — Medical marijuana can effectively treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation as well as slow tumor growth and improve the immune system.
Glaucoma — Due to rising eye pressure, glaucoma can lead to extreme pain and eventual blindness. Medical marijuana can effectively lower eye pressure while simultaneously reducing pain.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — A type of emotional disorder that results in those who have experienced trauma, PTSD is characterized by depression, insomnia, flashbacks, and anxiety. Medical marijuana can help PTSD sufferers in a number of ways including inducing relaxation and improving sleep.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — ALS is a neurological disorder that is often fatal within five years of diagnosis. Marked by muscle weakness, loss of speech, and paralysis, ALS can be greatly helped by medical marijuana’s anti-inflammatory and appetite-inducing benefits.
HIV—The virus that eventually leads to AIDS, HIV is marked by a compromised immune system that can often be bolstered by the use of medical marijuana.
AIDS — The disease that is a result of HIV, AIDS involves a low CD4 + T cell count, multiple infections, and susceptibility to numerous viruses and diseases. The most common treatment for AIDS is a highly active antiretroviral therapy that can result in numerous side effects. Medical marijuana can help reduce those side effects and allows AIDS patients to stay on their medication longer and prolong their lives.
Parkinson’s Disease — Caused in part by a lack of dopamine production in the brain, Parkinson’s Disease results in uncontrollable tremors among other symptoms. Medical marijuana can trigger a release of dopamine and help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Crohn’s Disease — An inflammatory disease that affects the digestive system, Crohn’s disease is incurable and can have severe symptoms that lower a sufferer’s quality of life. The anti-inflammatory effects of medical marijuana can help treat symptoms and slow the progression of this disease.
Multiple sclerosis — MS is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s own immune cells to attack healthy neurons. It affects the optic nerve, brain, and spinal cord and can lead to widespread pain, loss of muscle control, and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of medical marijuana can reduce symptoms and help treat pain associated with the disease.
Epilepsy — Characterized by seizures that can range from minor to grand mal that involves loss of consciousness, cognitive impairment, and memory loss. Caused by electrical disturbances in the brain, epilepsy has been shown to be effectively treated by medical marijuana. The herb can reduce the number of seizures experienced by epilepsy sufferers as well as their severity.
Those who suffer from one of the above ten conditions can legally purchase medical marijuana from an approved dispensary after receiving a state-issued ID card. To qualify for an ID card, patients must schedule an appointment with a licensed medical marijuana doctor in Miami. The physician will examine the patient’s medical history and determine if they have one of the approved ten conditions. They will also find out what other treatments have been tried and if medical marijuana could potentially better treat their condition. If approved, the physician will issue a written recommendation that the patient can then use to apply for a medical marijuana card with the Department of Health.
Those who are issued an ID card can use it to purchase medical marijuana at approved dispensaries in Miami. Under Amendment 2, they can buy it in the form of oils, creams, tinctures, or other non-smokeable forms of the herb.
If you have one of the ten conditions approved under Amendment 2 and are interested in applying for your medical marijuana card, you must schedule an appointment with a physician who is licensed to recommend the herb. Learn more about using marijuana in your medical treatment and about getting your medical marijuana card by going to mmjdoctors.com.