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.
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.
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
Proposed rules favor existing growers
TALLAHASSEE – Authors of Florida’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana are blasting proposed rules to regulate the cannabis industry.
Proposed state regulations for the emerging medical marijuana industry favor large politically connected cannabis firms who are already in the game.
The proposed rules, released Tuesday by state health officials, would essentially maintain current vendors’ stranglehold on the medical marijuana industry – poised to become one of the nation’s top money-makers – by applying current Florida laws and rules to the constitutional amendment approved in November.
“The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way,” Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
While medical marijuana was already a legal treatment for terminally ill patients in Florida, Amendment 2 authorized marijuana for a much broader swath of patients. More than 70 percent of voters supported the amendment, after a similar proposal narrowly failed to capture the requisite 60 percent approval two years earlier.
But applying current regulations to Amendment 2 – which includes specific requirements for how the amendment should be implemented – is wrong, Pollara insisted.
Of special concern to the amendment’s authors, the proposed rule would give authority to the Florida Board of Medicine – and not individual doctors – to decide which patients qualify for the marijuana treatment.
The amendment allows doctors to order medical marijuana as a treatment for patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
Physicians have authority
The ballot language gives doctors the power to order marijuana for “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”
In contrast, the proposed rule would limit the unspecified conditions to those “determined by the Florida Board of Medicine,” something Pollara called the regulation’s “single most problematic” component.
“This is not one of those things that is up for interpretation by a court or anyone else,” Pollara said.
Only 7 vendors
Among other issues, the proposed rule would maintain the state’s current cap on marijuana vendors, limited now to seven licensed “dispensing organizations,” to treat an estimated 500,000 patients who would be eligible under Amendment 2.
While the proposed language may be amenable to the handful of operators already doing business in the state, the plan is anathema to those hoping to gain entree into Florida under Amendment 2’s expansion of the industry.
“It looks like the Department of Health is protecting the existing monopolies. I hope the Legislature chooses to act in creating a free market system. The Legislature has a chance to change that,” said Ron Watson, a lobbyist who represents AltMed, a Sarasota-based company founded by former pharmaceutical industry executives who have obtained a medical marijuana license in Arizona and are seeking one in Florida.
Public hearings set
The health department will hold public hearings to take input on the rule during the second week of February, with meetings in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.
Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said state officials “look forward to receiving input from all interested stakeholders” about the proposed rule.
“That’s why we’re having the five public meetings,” supplemented by the ability to provide comments online, she said.
“We look forward to everybody’s contributions,” Gambineri said.
Sen. Rob Bradley, who shepherded the state’s medical-marijuana laws during the 2014 and 2016 legislative sessions, said he intends to release a new measure as early as this week.
“I interpret the actions today from the department as a beginning point, a foundation from which to build the medical cannabis system that we’re going to have in the state of Florida,” Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told The News Service of Florida. “I would caution everyone not to overreact to the actions of the department. You have to start somewhere.”
Amendment 2 may have forced health officials to move forward with a proposed rule before the Legislature weighs in. It gives health officials until July 3 to finalize regulations to implement the constitutional change.
Read more : flcourier.com
In April 2016, Broke millionaire and drug war profiteer Mel Sembler said he would raise $10 million to defeat amendment 2.
Sembler Told a TBO reporter that: “We’re trying to save lives and people’s brains,” the Drug Free America founder said. “It’s not a medicine.”
For purposes of this article we will refer to Mel Sembler as “Mel The Moocher” since he doesn’t actually put up his own money when it comes to fighting amendment 2.
“Mel The Moocher’s” reasoning for opposing Amendment 2 (Florida’s medical marijuana ballot initiative) appear to lack any rational basis beyond the dirty profit motive.
States with medical cannabis laws have 25 percent less opioid overdoses than those without, and Florida is leading the nation in a raging prescription pill overdose epidemic. Medical-cannabis legalization is also associated with reductions in veteran suicides, and does not increase teen use, research shows.
Cannabis’ medical use is supported by a majority of U.S. doctors; 56 percent support full legalization. Twenty-four states now have medical-cannabis laws, covering hundreds of millions of people.
“Mel The Moocher” did not respond to requests for comment. (figures he’s kind of a douche bag)
United for Care’s John Morgan wrote in a fundraising email to followers:
“I’ve got a message for Mel Sembler: BRING. IT. ON. No amount of money and lies are going to stop us from winning this time. We will pass Amendment 2 in November. We will bring compassion to Florida. We will match their lies with the truth about medical marijuana.”
Almost 65-68 percent of Floridians support medical cannabis, two polls show. This is much lower than this time last election cycle. Many experts are saying attack ads will peel away supporters and it could take as much as four times as much money to counter the negative lies from advertising spending of the opposition. In 2014 no on 2 told Florida voters that edibles would be the new date rape drug if Florida legalized medical cannabis.
If “Mel The Moocher” succeeds, it will continue to solidify the oligarchy that are Country has become–where the richest 1% can defeat the will of the people.
In 2014, a 58.6 percent majority of Floridians voted for medical cannabis legalization, but “Mel The Moocher’s” contributions to the no on 2 campaign and United for Care’s weak social media presence and lack senior outreach prevented activists from obtaining the super-majority 60 percent needed to pass the initiative.
The governors in Arizona and Massachusetts have also asked“Mel The Moocher” for money, reports state.
“The Semblers have been waging a war on marijuana for decades.
Before they led Save Our Society from Drugs, and its sister nonprofit, the Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers were at the helm of STRAIGHT, Inc., which operated drug abuse treatment centers, mostly for teenagers, from 1976 through 1993.
Former clients of the rehab center recount episodes of brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.”
“Though the STRAIGHT drug rehab clinic no longer exist, the Sembler network of anti-drug nonprofits have proliferated, in part because of the family’s extensive political connections. Mel, who served as a major fundraiser for George H.W., Jeb and George W. Bush, was appointed as the Ambassador to Italy in 2001. Betty Sembler, awarded “honorary agent status by the DEA,” has led various anti-drug commissions and task forces on the state and federal level.”
It was November 13th 2014 when Tre’ Evers, General Consultant for the “No on Two” Campaign, wrote his self-congratulatory memorandum to his supporters. Amendment two had lost by just two percent, yet Evers felt the need to gloat, and layout his battle plan. In the memorandum he emphasized staying on message. Regardless of what supporters say in defense of Amendment Two hammer the lies home with the general public. It doesn’t matter whether it is right, or wrong, stick to the message. Evers spoke about the messengers consisting of Florida Sheriffs, who dutifully went out into the public, and spoke of children exposed to pot. Social media such as the Facebook page “Don’t Let Florida go to Pot” posted memes depicting date rape, using marijuana brownies as the means to intoxicate their victims. The media was brought into play as Ever’s identified sympathetic reporters who would act as mouth pieces for the just say no movement. As we move closer to the November election let’s examine where we are today, so we do not repeat the errors and stumbles of 2014.
In 2016 we are seeing a different message from the “No on Two” group. The message is with passage of Amendment Two there will be thousands of dispensaries and cultivation centers post November. That will not be the case. With passage of Amendment Two the present Compassionate Use program will be expanded to include those parts from the amendment not in the current program. The Office of Compassionate Use follows Florida law. There will be a bill put forth in the first legislative cycle to implement amendment two. We can expect the present growers, who have invested millions, to fight to keep the market contained and vertical. Expansion of the present program will be a fight in the courts. At the most we may see up to 30 or 40 additional growers. The ideal situation would be to decouple the vertical, so entrepreneurs’ and advocates can be involved.
The Florida Sheriff’s Association has been exceptionally quiet to date. For one reason we are in an election season, and the FSA leadership has changed. We do not see Florida Sheriffs in the press, speaking at churches and schools, and holding public court with the media speaking to reefer madness and cannabis date rape. If they do turn up in the following months we must lean on them heavily, and draw attention to their untruths. Vote them out!
Facebook’s “Don’t Let Florida go to Pot” is not interested in the science behind marijuana, and why we advocate. Mel Sembler said “Marijuana isn’t medicine!” However, some of their readers may be interested in reading our responses. Post respectful responses, using science and fact, to refute their statements. Flood the page with responses, and links to scientific articles on PubMed, Google Scholar, clinicaltrails.org, pharmaceutical information pages, and other reference sites. Do not get into fights with trolls. Post, let it go, and move on to attack the next lie.
The money we witnessed flowing from casino owner Sheldon Adelson has been absent to date. In Adelson’s home state of Nevada cannabis is also on the ballot. Adelson is battling cannabis locally, and after pulling out of Florida, with regard to seeking a billion dollar casino, he may not be interested in opening another money draining battle. Adelson is commenting he will donate upwards of $100 million towards Trumps political campaign against Hillary Clinton. Prohibitionist Mel Sembler raised over $100 million for Jeb Bush, who sits on the Board of Directors for his anti-cannabis group. Jeb Bush expended over $70 million before pulling out of the race. What a waste of donor dollars! Those same donors who contributed to Sembler may not be so eager to contribute thousands, or millions, to yet another anti-marijuana campaign. Reefer madness commercials? Jamestown Associates who developed 2014’s slick reefer madness commercials are busy with the presidential election. Do they even have the resources to fight Amendment Two when receiving millions to attack both Trump and Clinton?
Out biggest weapon going forward is the truth. We are right in our convictions and beliefs. Science backs us up. Almost $1 billion Wall Street dollars is invested in pharmaceutical companies like Nemus BioScience, One World Cannabis, Kannalife, Insys Therapuetics, GW Pharmaceuticals, and many more pharmaceutical companies rushing forward to patent medicines developed using the 111 cannabinoids, identified to date, and test those cannabinoids against a host of ailments. Currently, we have liquid THC drops for lowering the ocular pressure in all four chambers of the eye, the cannabinoid CBD for epilepsy, THCV for appetite suppression, and CBG for skin rashes. I have listed just a few of the cannabinoids in clinical testing. In the future I fully expect to see other cannabinoids being clinically tested, and patents issued to pharmaceutical companies. Cannabis is medicine even if Mel Sembler says it is not.
In conclusion, we can expect to see a responsible, hard fought, cannabis compassionate use program within Florida. It will not be easy. Expect to see the prohibitionists to stay on message repeating the lies. Then post a successful Amendment Two the growers will lobby law makers to contain the program. Corporate forces will maneuver for control, while advocates fight for home grow. We must utilize independent law makers like Clemens, Ballard, and others identified by Florida CAN who can champion our cause. Identify law makers similar to Representative Matt Gaetz, and Senator Rob Bradley, who do NOT deserve our vote or support. As long as we advocates stay on message, use science and facts, maintain our composure, and vote, we will win this November.
Then maybe Mel Sembler will be nothing more than a line or two in history books identified as being on the wrong side of medical marijuana.
We want to show Floridians how important access to medical marijuana is to veterans. We’ll be publicly highlighting veteran support later on. If you’re a veteran and you’d like to be on this list and press release, please send your name, age, city of residence, the branch you served in, and any debilitating medical condition you may suffer from to Bianca@unitedforcare.org
The mothers dedicated to providing illegal cannabis to children has just been granted non profit status by the same government that bans it.
Cannamoms, National Organization but mothers whose sole mission is to provide education awareness and safe access to cannabis medicine 4 special needs children has been granted Federal 501c3 status. This is a historic win for the Cannabis community and goes to show that changing views and our federal government.
How they started :
Can a mom’s was founded in 2014 As a small parent to parent support community that rapidly grew into a nationwide organization helping families in the legal states. their goal is simple, provide and ensure safe access 2 tested medicine and helping relocate families to legal states. some called them the st. Jude of cannabis.
Now that they have Federal non-profit status:
The Moms plan on implementing several Innovative Nationwide programs.
1:An individual grant program that goal is to reduce the hardship and the cost of medicine not covered by traditional health insurance
2:A relocation program that will help families in a legal states relocate to the states where they can have safe access two medicine for their children in need.
3:Educational campaigns will continue on the national level and where moms all across the country are taking part in media, documentaries, conferences, and events.
Additionally, cannabis and children is a very controversial topic. can a mom says set a new standard in the Cannabis industry, mothers are coming out in full force, Bridging the Gap between big Pharma Healthcare and cannabis medicine.
How you can help:
If you would like to support donate to cannamoms, please contact Moriah Barnhart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 813-580-1378.
Read more here: salaragency.com
Weed, Pot, “The Reefer”, Marijuana and let’s not forget the more politically correct name “Cannabis”.
This is probably the most controversial subject to talk about in most Florida political circles right now. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent or even Libertarian. Religion comes into play also (whether you like it or not) so it also doesn’t matter if your Atheist, Agnostic, Christian or Catholic.
There are arguments on both sides from all parties and people of all Faiths.
If we are really honest with ourselves I think the verdict is pretty much out that cannabis is a medicine and there are a lot of sick people out there that need it, however, there is also a lot of people that I’m going to label as “stoners” that just want to get high all day every day (usually around 4:20 pm).
Yep… I just said it. And I said it as a contributor of this blog.
Also, let’s not forget the other “Elephant in the room” of the possibility of it being a gateway drug.
Is this true?
We need to understand the other side of the argument and how people feel without just shoving statistics down peoples throats (and by “people” I’m talking mostly about uneducated, religious, Christian conservatives). People that are against cannabis are making it based on an emotional decision because of how they were programmed by society and religion (incorrectly).
Most people that were raised in the millennial generation don’t understand what I’m talking about, which is why it’s important to understand things from their (the anti cannabis people) point of view.
Watch the video posted above where I (along with several other parts of this movement) go before Tampa City Council and make a case to decriminalize weed (I prefer to use the word weed instead of cannabis because it’s 1 syllable instead of 3 so it’s quicker to say even though it’s not as politically correct so start getting used to it) on March 3rd 2016 where it was voted 6 to 1 in our favor.
This means that it’s likely that instead of getting arrested you’ll just get a slap on the wrist and a ticket.
I realize that’s not ultimately what we want, but it is a step in the right direction. 🙂