Florida: Here’s What to Know As Amendment 2 Takes Effect Today

Dr. Joseph Dorn has had a unique vantage point when it comes to the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Florida.

Dorn was the medical director of Surterra Therapeutics, which is one of the six dispensing organizations licensed to grow and distribute medical cannabis in the state. He resigned from that position two months ago and has opened a medical cannabis treatment center as Amendment 2 takes effect on Tuesday.

The constitutional amendment, which was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters, allows higher-strength cannabis to be used for a wider list of medical ailments. However, the true measure of what the amendment means won’t be immediately seen until a new set of rules are adopted and implemented by the Florida Legislature and the Department of Health.

“I think the expectations for most people is it is going to be a free-for-all, and all people have to do is get their cards to receive it,” Dorn said. “I think there is going to be a lot of chaos initially because there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The upcoming year will be important, considering the health and economic factors at play.

A study recently released by Arcview Market Research and New Frontier Data showed that Florida is on track to log more than $1 billion in medical marijuana sales by 2019 and surpass Colorado within four years.

What the amendment does

It allows the use of medical marijuana for people with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed physician. In 2014, the Florida Legislature approved the use of low-THC and non-smoked cannabis for patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures and chronic muscle spasms. It was expanded last year to include patients with terminal conditions under the Right to Try Act and allowed them to use higher-THC strains.

Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other similar conditions will now be covered.

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