Promising to give another option to sick patients in Florida, the authors of the state's existing medical marijuana bill filed legislation Wednesday to allow high potency strains of cannabis to be cultivated and sold for non-smoking purposes for a potentially vast new audience -- those diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Under the bill filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, two physicians would determine that a patient is at the end of life and the patient would then be eligible for marijuana with unlimited levels of THC, expanding the existing law that legalizes only non-euphoric strains of marijuana.
"We're offering this because people who want to die without being jacked up with opiates or who are in excruciating pain are visiting their legislators, their making phone calls, their sending emails and it's working,'' Gaetz said.
The law would expand the "Right to Try" legislation passed last year which allows terminally ill patients to access experimental and potentially life-saving—treatments more easily.
"It's appropriate to have more flexibility for those families where they can try experimental drugs they should also be able to try high potency marijuana,'' Bradley said.
"This is a game changer,'' said Taylor Biehl, legislative director of the Capital Alliance Group, which represents a consortium of cannabis growers who have applied to cultivate and distribute medical pot in Florida. "This is a foot hold for drastically increasing the patient base across the line."