State lawmakers talk up "Charlotte's Web" and the reality of medical pot in Florida

Posted by Mitch Perry on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Broward County Representative Katie Edwards
  • Broward County Representative Katie Edwards
With the campaign to get medical marijuana on the ballot this November a dominant story in the Florida media for the past half-year, some legislators in Tallahassee have been moving on their own to legalize a non-euphoric brand of pot which could help thousands of children suffering from epileptic seizures.

This particular strain of weed is known as "Charlotte's Web" and is administered orally as an oil and not smoked. It contains very little THC — the euphoria-causing element that provides the high from smoking pot — but does contain lots of CDB, the non-euphoric cannabidiol. The legislation has been moving up the chain in the Florida House in a bill sponsored by Matt Gaetz ( R-Fort Walton Beach) and Katie Edwards, (D-Plantation) who were joined by state Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) in a public conversation in Tallahassee that was webcast on Justin Sayfie's Sayfie Review blog on Monday afternoon.

"I never would have thought, coming from Florida's most conservative district, that I'd be into giving pot to kids, but there you are," Gaetz began, explaining that there are 125,000 children in Florida who suffer from intractable epilepsy, some of them suffering up to 30 seizures a night. 

Edwards called the "cornucopia of research" on medical pot "fascinating and enlightening" and said there needs to be more focus on "cannabis-derived therapies." 

There are differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, with the Senate's bill specifying that the approved pot would be just for children with intractable epilepsy, whereas the House would be less specific. Representative Gaetz said as we learn more about the potential for non-euphoric marijuana to help people with PTSD, Alzheimer's or brain cancer, it would be unwise for the Legislature to restrict access to those ailments that we only know about now.

When asked by Sayfie why there was need for such legislation, Gaetz explained that parents of children suffering from this ailment can't legally use pot at all and have to travel to Colorado or other states where it is legal to take. 

Edwards and the others bemoaned the "hodgepodge rules and regulations" surrounding marijuana's use for medicinal purposes around the country. By planning for research and infrastructure, she said she could envision a "cannabis corridor in this state for research and development. Why can't I have a Duke University research triangle that brings high-paying jobs in the research sector here to work with an already existing population of Florida families?"

Regarding the Constitutional amendment on medical marijuana that still has to be approved by voters in the fall, Senator Clemens expressed regret that the initiative as written doesn't allow for people to grow their own weed, and he worries how that could affect citizens who won't have close access to a dispensary, which ultimately will be up to the Legislature to decide. 

Sayfie remarked that he hears people saying that whatever happens with Florida's law, they don't want to turn Florida into California, where there is a perception that medical marijuana is a "joke," and is actually a backdoor method for full legalization. Clemens said although the issue is no joke, it's not entirely wrong to assume that people want to have the herb legalized outright.

"The polls are more and more clear that it's not the great evil in our society," he said, adding that with the proposal polling so well among independents (along with everyone else), he was surprised that Governor Scott immediately criticized it.

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When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.

Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

Support Medical Marijuana Now!

"[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

"[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

"[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

"Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

"The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

"[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995

"When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

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Posted by Brian Kelly B Bizzle on 04/01/2014 at 1:23 PM
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