Voters passed Amendment 2 in Florida, now what happens? That is the question on a lot of voters minds.
We interviewed former FL Senate president, Mike Haridopolos and marijuana lobbyist and columnist for Leafly, Jay Lassiter to answer that question.
The first thing that needs to be done in the state is there needs to be laws past that will regulate medical marijuana and provide the guidelines needed for patients to get it.
Senator Haridopolos said:
the key is finding the fine line between medical marijuana and legalized marijuana. Voters expressed a clear intent to help those with severe medical conditions where marijuana can help them alleviate their pain and potentially avoid powerful narcotics.
He went on to say:
The legislature needs to determine who can “prescribe” the drug. Will it be ONLY licensed doctors at a pharmacy or will other be allowed to “prescribe”?
Lassiter does not have a lot of confidence in the state representatives effectively fulfilling the will of the people when it comes to medical marijuana. He was there from start to finish in New Jersey where a similar law was passed and he said five years later they are still trying to figure it out.
We have a hostile governor, Chris Christie. This administration worked overtime to hinder progress. The regulations are still unwieldy five years later.
Haridopolos on the other hand, is very confident in the ability of our state government to get it right. He said:
Fortunately, Senator Bradley and Representative Cummings who are the legislators likely to navigate this issue in the legislature are very able legislators who are familiar with the issue and I am confident they will be able to address this complex issue.
When asked if he supported legalizing medical marijuana, Haridopolos said he felt the Amendment in 2016 was better crafted “than the more open ended Amendment that failed in 2014.” He went on to say:
I support true medical marijuana for those who cannot get relief from traditional drugs, but I am not comfortable with full scale legalization at this point.
As for Lassiter, he has been HIV positive for twenty five years and uses medical marijuana daily so he has seen first hand how it is helping those who need it.
When asked since medical marijuana was approved in the state if he thought there would be a push for legalizing recreation marijuana next, Haridopolos said:
I think there will be a push for full legalization. Its success will likely depend on how Amendment 2 is implemented.
There is also a possibility recreation marijuana could be approved on the federal level but Lassiter was cautiously optimistic that will happen. He said:
Trump is crazy. Or is he crazy like a fox? He’s so unpredictable I can him and AG Jeff Sessions setting back the cause several decades. Or Trump might blow our minds and push to end prohibition. The mind reels!
Lassiter reflected on his vision for Florida in regards to medical marijuana going forward. He said:
Most states DO NOT have a reciprocal arrangement for licensed MMJ users from other states. As a tourist destination, Florida would be well served to honor out-of-state licensed users. Americans who use MMJ, our most basic liberties, in this case freedom to medicate, fade in and out like cell phone reception as well travel around the nation.
Florida is the most beautiful, welcoming part of America in my opinion. Here’s hoping that same hospitality will be extended to out of state MMJ users.
Jay Lassiter looking into a medical marijuana grow room