Cathy Jordan smokes cannabis like her life depends on it. Because it does.
Cathy was diagnosed with ALS in 1986, an ailment that normally kills its victims in 5-7 years. They waste away while they drown in their own saliva. But in 1989, on a beach in Manatee County, she discovered that by smoking a strain called Myakka Gold, the tremors in her muscles ceased and relaxed, and she became hungry for the first time in a long time. Today, at 68 years old, she smokes two joints a day. The first thing that happens is she coughs up any fluids that accumulated during the night. The “cotton mouth” effect keeps the saliva from building up throughout the day.
She is still alive to this day because she is allowed to smoke, thanks to a medical necessity defense that allows her husband, Bob, to give Cathy her medicine each and every day.
But the rest of the sick in Florida has not been given that right. The Charlotte web bill, passed in 2013 allowed CBD and low-THC oils and tinctures to children with severe seizures and adults with severe spastic disorders and the law was extended the following year for terminal patients that also expanded the types of products to include higher THC levels.
Thanks to mismanagement and infighting, it took until 2015 for the Department of Health to create the rules to even start the process to allow for applications for nurseries to become seed-to-sale dispensing organizations, a requirement of the Charlottes Webb law. Even the application process was marred with legal difficulties, including the acceptance of organizations that weren’t qualified.
Then came Amendment 2. It failed by just a sliver in 2014, but it got a make-over and a fresh start and won by a landslide in 2016 by 71.3%, with the promise of greater access of cannabis as medicine for people like Cathy and others with debilitating conditions.
In anticipation of the product needs for those who would gain access through Amendment 2, now Article X, Chapter 29 of the Florida Constitution, the first of the dispensing organizations to actually produce and dispense product, Trulieve, amended their application to include “flower in sealed receptacles for vaping”. The amendment was approved by, the current head of the Office of Compassionate Use (OCU) in the Department of Health (DOH).
For over a year, Trulieve sold the Keurig-style cups along with a machine that you could pop them in and vape the contents. Inside, was a pulverized mixture of dried plant matter. Some detractors called it “mystery shake” and dismissed the product.
Then in May of 2107, the legislature adjourned the legislative session without passing an implementation bill for Amendment 2, and passed the ball back to the OCU, who had previously opted to not finalize any rules after a 5 city dog-and-pony show in February, where hundreds of Floridians came out to speak, pouring their hearts out to an impassionate and often smirking Bax.
That same day that the House and Senate adjourned, Trulieve rolled out their new line of products, the Entourage line, named after the effect you get when all of the cannabinoid and terpenes in the whole plant are accessible in a synergistic manner to the user. In the glass vial within the box were 4 metal mesh canisters, sealed with a crimped metal top. Inside was a full bud of a strain called Nine-pound hammer, and the in-house and third-party testing results were available to verify that this was 3.5g of a high quality full flower product.
Trulieve recommended that these canisters be used for vaping, in machines such as the “Volcano”, which has been used throughout the world for vaping, and highlighted notably on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Weed 3 Documentary on CNN and VICE on HBO.
The response was overwhelming across the state, in every retail outlet, except Pensacola, where it was not yet available.
Trulieve was already ready to roll out their second strain, called Lemon tree, when, less than one week after the well-received rollout, they got a visit from the OCU.
On the following Monday, the OCU released a Cease and Desist Order letter to Trulieve regarding the Entourage line of products.
The letter was CC’d to the Sheriffs of Leon, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Miami-Dade and Escambia County.
The letter claims that, “The smoking of low-THC Cannabis and Medical Marijuana is prohibited under section 381.986, Florida Statutes(FS). Licensed dispensing organizations have a responsibility to ensure their product is not one that can be easily transitioned into a smokable form. Therefore, whole flower products are not permitted. Moreover, patients may only purchase low-THC and medical marijuana delivery devices via an order in the Compassionate Use Registry. The purchase of delivery devices outside of a dispensing organization and the Compassionate use registry is not authorized by section 381.986, FS.”
It goes on the state that a review of the instructions for the volcano vaporizer specifically states that the product is not a medic al device and is not intended for medical or therapeutic purposes. Of course, if they bothered to check the Canadian instructions, where medical cannabis is legal as a country, they would see a different disclaimer.
First, it should be noted that 386.986. 1(i) states, “Smoking does not include the use of a vaporizer”. That is why the initial approval was given for the packaging over a year ago. As far as ensuring their product cannot be transitioned, the OCU failed to include it in the rules they failed to write for Amendment 2, which began to take effect on January 17, 2017. Their arguments are flimsy, because they failed to solidify the rules.
In essence, the OCU is throwing down when gauntlet when they failed to set the standards in the first place when it was their time to do so, back at the beginning of the year.
They didn’t listen to the public then. Maybe it’s time to listen now. After all, we were the ones who voted for medical cannabis access for those with debilitating conditions. The OCU, and the Legislature work for us.
Profits over patients in politics
We’ve all been aware that one of the major problems with the Healthcare system in this country is that the profit motive always precedes the needs of the patients. Big Pharma raises their prices, hospitals raises their prices, and all at the expense of the patient.
So when politics gets involved in something that would benefit the sick, you would think that the one degree of separation from the business of Healthcare would be the buffer that allowed patients to finally have a chance for a break.
But if there are back-room deals involved, you know that is not going to be the case.
Here in Florida, we had the chance for the legislature to create an implementation bill for Amendment 2, which was approved by 71.3% of the voters to increase access of Medical Cannabis for patients with debilitating conditions, and they blew it.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that it was just another case of profits over patients.
It came from the top as it often does in Tallahassee. In this case, the fight over the bill came over negotiations at the last minutes over a cap on the number of dispensaries. Senate President Joe Negron was insisting on a cap of 3 brick-and mortar dispensaries going into negotiations. The House countered with 10, the senate said 5. Then, when the House bill went back to the House, it now said 10, which surprised Majority Leader Rodriguez and Speaker Richard Corcoran. It was Corcoran that decided to counter with 50; they took an anger break and boosted it to 100. The senate countered by killing the bill by not voting at all.
So what motivated Corcoran? Maybe it’s because his brother, Michael, happens to run a lobbying firm that works for one of the 7 current dispensing organizations, Surterra, who stands to gain from the lack of caps or a higher cap.
But Stephanie Pollara, the sister of lobbyist and activist Ben Pollara, has come out publicly on record as verifying that it was the Speaker that raised the cap until it burst the bill.
You’d hope that money would not influence how this bill is being implemented. That for once it would be Patients, who in this case are WE THE PEOPLE, who voted overwhelmingly for this amendment and for this right to this plant as medicine.
If that’s not that case, then the Speaker needs to prove it to us.
We are not criminals or pawns or points of profit. We are patients, citizens and voters.
comment on his page HERE
The Death of Medical Cannabis Legislation for Amendment 2 and the Birth of the Next Battle
They are digging a grave in Tallahassee today, for the bill that was supposed to be the implementation law for Amendment 2, the constitutional ballot measure to increase access to medical cannabis in the state of Florida.
But if the tombstone said “Here lays an intelligent law, created in the spirit of Amendment 2, for the patients of Florida who desperately needed it”, the grave would be empty or the stone carver should be fired.
What we are burying was not a good bill. It restricted instead of increasing access. It barred pregnant women from gaining access to a medicine that could save a fetus from hyperemesis gravida or other problems of pregnancy that should be the decision between her and her doctor. It also put draconian measures in place that included a “Pattern Board” in place that would scrutinize doctor’s decisions for their patients and put it the hands of the Kangaroo Court division of the Board of Medicine, once again interfering with the sacrosanct relationship between doctor and patient. It would have reduced the number of good, dedicated doctors willing to help. It allowed employers to fire employees for medicating at work, even if that medicine took that person from his or her death bed or sick bed back to work, so they could provide for their families and be tax paying citizens instead of sick welfare recipients. Even if an emergency dose could stop PTSD victim’s severe anxiety attacks that could have disastrous results or stop an epilepsy attack, your employer could fire you and you would have no legal recourse to sue or get your job back.
It was a bad bill, and Pinellas Sen. Jeff Brandes told me that it was, “Better to have no bill than a bad bill” for the people he serves.
And he was right.
Sure, the process started with hundreds of people – patients, caregivers, doctors and academics- coming to public forums to air their concerns and recommendations and months of hard work by advocates, lobbyists, citizens speaking out, and local and state elected officials and their extremely hard working staffs to get to what we just buried. I put in 100s of hours of driving over thousands of miles to personally talk truth to the people and to power and forward this just cause.
But it’s not all bad. We educated a lot of people. (Even the budget removed the word marijuana in place of the word cannabis). Mel Sembler didn’t get the $500K he requested for Drug Free Florida to continue the Reefer Madness campaign, with Pot Shops on every corner and unemployed dirty stoners wrecking our clean white beaches.(I still don’t know what they have against Pottery Barn). He also didn’t get a piece of the $10 Million the House bill set aside for the education campaign(in order to educate, to have to have accurate information. Otherwise, you are spreading Alternate Facts, which we all know are lies. He doesn’t get a penny of rebates for the millions he spent to defeat Amendment 2.
You lose again, Mel. Hopefully the memory of Straight inc will fade away with you one day.
But we still have the Amendment that 71 % of the voting population approved, and it is still in force. The incompetent and understaffed Office of Compassionate Use is still in charge and have until June to put out their version of the rules, and people are still able to get on the registry and get the medicine they need.
Now it is their turn to do this right. But it is also our turn to help them and help our fellow Floridians by spreading the word of what medical cannabis can do, to help fight debilitating diseases (Not “DisAbilitating”, Rep. Rodrigues. Weren’t you listening when you were corrected?) and increase the wellness of Floridians of every age, including helping to decrease the opioid use that kills 10 of them each day.
The battle is over. Let’s bury the dead, raise up the living and march to a potentially glorious future.
originally posted on saintpetersblog.com
State Rep. Cary Pigman, who last week was charged with drunk driving, has stepped down as chair of the House Health Quality Subcommittee.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced the move Tuesday. He appointed Jeanette Nunez, the House Speaker pro tempore, as acting chair of the the subcommittee.
Pigman, an Avon Park Republican first elected in 2012, is an emergency medicine physician and U.S. Army Reserve doctor who served in Iraq.
“Having spent a career fighting for and defending this country, Dr. Pigman knows that it is honorable to take responsibility for one’s actions,” Corcoran said. “It is the honorable thing to do. Dr. Pigman has done both by informing me that he wishes to step down as chairman of the Health Quality Subcommittee.”
Pigman, who was traveling alone, was pulled over late last Thursday on Florida’s Turnpike after a trooper noticed his southbound Jeep “drifting” between his lane and the highway’s shoulder. (Story here.)
Pigman then failed field sobriety tests, including almost falling and not following instructions, the report said. His blood alcohol level later was measured at .14 and .15, it added. A DUI in Florida is .08 or above.
This all transpired hours after the controversial group Floridian’s for Cannabis launched a meme attack on Pigman.
Originally reported: yoursun.com
SEBRING — State Representative Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, faces a driving under the influence charge after an arrest early Friday morning at the Fort Pierce Service Plaza on Florida’s Turnpike in Port St. Lucie.
Arrest reports state that, in two breath tests taken approximately three hours after the traffic stop, his blood alcohol levels were 0.140 and 0.150. Florida Highway Troopers also noted in their report that they saw an open wine bottle in the front passenger seat.
All of this transpired shortly after when the controversial group “Floridians for Cannabis” targeted his Facebook page with their 55k+ followers on Thursday. Floridians for Cannabis has been known to use controversial viral attack ads in the past and has become a powerful force in the fight for reform in the state of Florida. It is rumored that they are being funded by a wealthy investor in Central Florida but no one knows for sure who is behind this mysterious group.
below are some of the viral memes they released
The Hillsborough county commission will hear public comments and take a vote on a controversial proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance.
Draft language of the new ordinance in Hillsborough plans to create a 30-day window for marijuana companies to apply for a limited number of licenses. That means that only the 7 current state licence holders would be able to apply
the county is not protecting patients but a handful of politically connected growers. Fewer competitors will lead to higher prices and less access for consumers, said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who has sponsored a bill to open up Florida to more medical marijuana businesses.
This ordinance would only allow for only 13 Dispensaries for all of Hillsborough county for the next year. To put that into context, unincorporated Hillsborough county has over 120 pharmacies.
this ordinance is sponsored by
District 4, Chairman
Sources say that Stacy White could be accepting money and favors from lobbyist groups representing 1 of the 7 licensed growers. This would explain why he is so eager to pass this ordinance that heavily favors one license holder. here is his facebook page
San Felasco Nurseries, a licensed grower, is pushing for the county to adopt these rules through its lobbyist, Igniting Florida. Since Hillsborough enacted a six-month medical marijuana moratorium in October, Beth Leytham and Todd Pressman, lobbyists for Igniting Florida, have registered 24 meetings with county commissioners and staff, including eight with commissioner Stacy White, according to county records.
We need to tell the Hillsborough county commission and commissioner Stacy White to slow down and not pass legislation that favors one grower. We need to let our presence be seen
Where and when is the public hearing?
3/7/17 6:00 P.M.
County Center 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. 2nd Floor, Boardroom Tampa FL, 33602
Speculation about the DOJ’s approach to states with legal cannabis laws under president Donald Trump has led to many hypothetical best and worst case scenarios.
The first declarative statement on cannabis since trump election was a strongly worded letter from the US attorney to a sovereign native American reservation. This marks the first blow to the US DOJ not respecting states cannabis laws.
An exclusive report by the Reno Gazette-Journal revealed a stern letter of warning, sent by U.S. Attorney General Daniel Bogden to the Moapa Paiute Tribe, which is scheduled to host the cup on their sovereign tribal reservation just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the letter, Bogden informs the tribe that the DOJ is aware of its intentions to host the event and reminds them that cannabis is still illegal under federal law.
“I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it,” Bogden wrote. “Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”
Tribal Chairman, Darren Daboda, told the Gazette-Journal that the tribe is not attempting to promote illegal activity and that he believes they are within their rights.
“To us, we’re looking at it as utilizing our sovereignty… as long as [marijuana] is not visible, we’re told it will be OK,” Daboda said. “The tribe is promoting it as a vendors’ crafts, food and concert event. We’re not promoting the distributor or selling [marijuana].”
High Times has responded by sending a message to vendors and attendees telling them not to bring any cannabis to the cup.
“Federal authorities have intervened directly with our host venue, the land of the Moapa Band of Paiutes,” the message said. “Our upcoming Cannabis Cup event in Nevada on March 4-5 can proceed as planned, but vendors, guests, performers and attendees are advised to comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding the use and distribution of cannabis and cannabis related products.”
Sources tell Canna Chronicle that many vendors and businesses are canceling plans to attend the cup.
Friday was a bloody day for the cannabis sector and the weakness was concerning as it stems from comments regarding recreational cannabis delivered by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer has reason to destroy the emerging domestic legal cannabis industry…his wife is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for National Wholesale Beer Distributor’s Association. Coincidence, think not!!
Meet the woman behind the Spice…Rebecca Spicer
“As chief communications officer, Rebecca Spicer manages NBWA’s communications strategy – including internal, membership and external communications – and executes key public relations strategies to advance the association’s advocacy priorities”
A Claim Not Supported by Intelligence
On Thursday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the President understands the value of medical cannabis for those in need, however, recreational cannabis or adult-use is an issue for the Department of Justice to provide further clarification.
Spicer seemed to link marijuana use to the opioid addiction crisis plaguing the United States. Despite his un-educated attempt to link cannabis use to opioid addiction, a Johns Hopkins report published in August 2014 determined that states with legal marijuana programs have fewer prescription overdose deaths.
In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine also released a review of 10,000 medical cannabis studies published since 1999. These data associated with these studies provide substantial evidence that supports the use of cannabis or its extracts for the treatment of chronic pain.
In November 2015, Forbes Magazine reported about a 60-Minutes episode that blamed the opioid crisis entirely on big pharmaceutical companies.
A Relationship to Look Into
Although there is no direct link between the National Wholesale Beer Distributor’s Association and Sean Spicer, it is easy to understand he would profit from the rollback of marijuana legalization.
Plus, the possibility of collusion is much more likely than claims by Spicer as he tried link marijuana use to the opioid addiction crisis plaguing the United States.