Medical Marijuana in Florida

Fri, May 23, 2014


 Some rights reserved by Goodnight LondonYes, medical marijuana has almost become a reality in Florida. It hits the ballot this fall. In addition, the Florida legislature recently passed a bill for a certain strain of marijuana to be used for epileptic seizures. The word is that Governor Rick Scott says he will pass that one soon, according to Reuters. The ballot in November will include more expanded medical marijuana use.

Many are interested in the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. Of local note is the recent case of a Parrish woman and her husband–who were arrested (charges were later dropped) after it was found they were growing marijuana in their yard for the wife, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. This case caught the attention of many in the state, and a medical marijuana bill in Florida was even named after her–the “Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act”. You can read more of her story at

Medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of ailments. A major reason it is used is to relieve pain. This pain is often associated with glaucoma, cancer, or even headaches. Other uses include seizures and stomach ailments. Many uses for medical marijuana are not yet known either, so one could assume that the breadth of illnesses that it is used to treat could expand. This also means that many groups of individuals may not be compatible with medical marijuana usage. This vagueness is associated with the fact that the FDA is not currently regulating medical marijuana use and testing is not as extensive as it is for other manufactured drugs. One can also assume that some doctors would more readily prescribe it than other doctors would be, like many types of new drugs or experimental treatments.

Medical marijuana comes in a few different forms. It can be inhaled, eaten, or even as a liquid extract. Different states allow for different methods of distribution. Currently, medical marijuana is legal in several states. This link to has a map of the states it is legal in. If you keep clicking the links, you will see that the states vary widely in what is considered legal use and legal amounts. For instance, the magazine states that Alaska allows 1 oz. or 6 plants (3 mature) and lets it be prescribed for multiple sclerosis and epilepsy (among others). However, Arizona allows 2.5 oz usable and 12 plants (with conditions) and people can use it for cancer, Hepatitis C (among others). As you can see, the rules vary widely state to state. Please also remember that marijuana is still illegal in the United States as a whole, it is just certain states that have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Some states have even legalized recreational use. These states are Colorado and Washington. Keep in mind that this does not mean that there is total free reign to use marijuana there. It is still regulated by law, as other types of laws are in different states. Some states, while they have not legalized recreational use, have made the possession of marijuana less criminal. This means they have relaxed some of their laws about marijuana possession.

This chart on Wikipedia gives a more detailed look at the various rules in the different states regarding marijuana use and possession.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

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