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.

This article is brought to you by:

Gary Stein- The peoples’ lobbyist 

I don’t work for them, I work for you 

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.