Medical marijuana amendment defeated in Florida.

At Greater Tampa Law, P.L., we aren’t stating whether the medical marijuana amendment, which was defeated yesterday, was a good or bad idea.  There are a number of valid arguments on both sides of the coin.  Today’s blog post includes an argument from a Dr. Jonathan Daitch, a board certified interventional pain physician and a board certified anesthesiologist.

If you are looking for a unique perspective, please read the article below:

“I am unsure why, but most people still don’t know that our Florida legislators already passed a medical marijuana bill.

“Charlotte’s Web,” aka Senate Bill 1030, was signed into law four months ago. It went through an intense legislative process, and is now in the implementation stage. By April 2015, the medical marijuana plants will be available to those who need it.

As to my background, I have lived in Fort Myers for 23 years. I am a board certified interventional pain physician and a board certified anesthesiologist. I am in favor of medical marijuana, and I presently do occasionally prescribe it for my patients in the pharmaceutical form. I was also very active in the fight against dangerous pill mills here in Lee County and throughout the state.

The best part of the Charlotte’s Web bill is that it provides safeguards for Floridians. It allows medical marijuana for treatment for cancer pain and symptoms, seizures and severe muscle spasms. It ensures that prescribing physicians have eight hours of proper training in medical marijuana. It ensures that there are no sales to minors, protecting our adolescents from addiction. It also holds physicians who prescribe this drug fully accountable for their actions.

Most importantly, the Charlotte’s Web bill provides for low THC marijuana. THC is the drug which gets you high. However, the non-THC elements of marijuana, like cannabidiol, are the medically therapeutic elements. Charlotte’s Web allows for administration of oils and vaporizing of the product, but not harmful smoking, nor dangerous edible preparations.

Compare this to the slippery slope of Amendment 2, which does not limit THC content at all. High concentrations of THC is what all pot smokers want. Without limiting THC, this amendment opens the path for abusable and recreational marijuana.

Further, Amendment 2 provides immunity from prosecution for any physician who prescribes it, any person who utilizes it, as well as the dispensary and its employees!! So, for pure cash, any unscrupulous, self-serving medical practitioner can deliberately write for anyone pretending to have an ailment and not have to answer to the law. That is simply astounding.

We have seen cash pill mills ravage Florida over the past six years. These were run by marginal and unethical doctors. We need to learn from this mistake. We don’t want cash pot-mills to follow. As a physician, I want to make certain that we protect our citizens from bad prescribers who will hide under their immunity from civil and criminal prosecution, as well as unethical entrepreneurs out to capitalize on huge dollars from this amendment.

Presently, we have Marinol as a medical marijuana prescription drug. The limitation of Marinol is that is pure THC, so the intoxicating side effects often prevent its use in many patients. However, we do have 2 new medical marijuana drugs on the very near horizon, namely Sativex and Epidiolex.

These soon-to-be FDA approved drugs will likely be available for cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, seizures and muscle spasms. These drugs are going through the final testing stages with bonafide studies that the FDA requires. Nevertheless, physicians will be able to prescribe them for other justified medical conditions as needed.

In a recently published opinion letter, seven former Florida Supreme Court justices came to together to oppose Amendment 2. They stated “Anyone who reads the full text of Amendment 2 should agree it is plagued by loopholes and vagueness that would lead to a myriad of unintended consequences.

Amendment 2 is opposed by the Florida Medical Association and the Lee County Medical Society. And for good reason; there is nothing medical about this amendment. We already have the medical marijuana law we need right now with the Charlotte’s Web bill.

Dr. Jonathan Daitch is an interventional pain physician with Advanced Pain Management and Spine Specialists.

Oh by the way, doctors are very compassionate about the use of Medical Marijuana for severe and terminal diseases. In fact, the Charlotte’s Web bill is officially called the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.”

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