Written by Carina Vo
The US House’s session at the end of May was adjourned with the decision that the federal government would leave the decision of prohibition or legalization of medical marijuana to the state governments. As a result, four states, including Florida, have decided that it is time to put the decision on the ballot.
Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have decided to legalize medical cannabis from as early as 1998, and with the federal government’s potentially hands off the decision now, there are bound to be more states taking a look at legalization.
Medical marijuana has been issued to patients with a wide range of ailments, from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. While it is often used to quell anxieties that stem from dealing with diseases, it can also combat symptoms caused by the diseases themselves. Medical cannabis has also been prescribed to patients who experience a lack of appetite as a result of an ailment or alternate treatment.
Medical marijuana is often smoked, but it can also be taken in pill or oil form. Taking the alternative forms reduces the dreamy “high” effect produced when cannabis is smoked.
Depending on the state, the amount of medical marijuana granted to a patient is determined by the amount prescribed daily or a dosage measured in ounces, and this is all for a fee. For example, Connecticut allows patients each a “one-month supply” for $100 while Hawaii allows “3 oz. usable; 7 plants” for $25. In California, minors 18 or younger must have parental consent to receive medical marijuana.
As well as physical and financial regulation, medical cannabis is also chemically regulated. Medical marijuana is already partially legalized in Florida through the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014” passed by legislators. Yet, this law only allows medical marijuana to be available to a certain scope of patients who suffer from severe epilepsy, and the bill only allows for a certain amount of THC – Tetrahydrocannabinoil, cannabis’s “main mind-altering ingredient” – to be present in the prescribed amount.
According to the latest Quinnipiac University survey, approximately 88 percent of 1,413 surveyed registered voters in Florida, including those 65 and older, support legalization of marijuana for medical use.