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Frustrations Mount Around Florida's Medical Cannabis Act

A neon sign reading medical with a marijuana leaf beneath it.
Chuck Coker via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are frustrated with the roll out of the state’s medical marijuana law. Nearly two years after the non-euphoric strain was approved, it’s still not available.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act allows use by patients with cancer, chronic seizures and muscle spasms. Physicians are trained, certified and ready to prescribe the drug. An online registry for patients, doctors, researchers and law enforcement is up and running. But there is no medication to prescribe and no organization to dispense it. Sarasota Republican Representative Greg Steube says patients have waited too long.

"I just don't understand how we don't have some type of way ahead. I mean it's been almost two years since the bill was passed, and we still don't have any restitution for these children that are trying to get this drug that the Legislature recognized as something that is a need for the State of Florida," he said.

“I would just like some guidance from the department on when are we going to have some movement ahead, and some timeline here as to when these people are going to be picked, when this product is going to be available to people in the State of Florida.”

48 nurseries have applied for five regional dispensary licenses, but applications are still under review. Supporters are also frustrated because the lawmakers who created the plan aren’t on the committee that oversees its implementation.