The Department of Health in Florida passed a new rule that severely limits medical marijuana patients’ dosages.
This is a huge step backward for those who rely on cannabis for treatment. The fact that the department didn’t even bother releasing this rule for public questioning before passing it is telling—they probably knew it would not go over well.
The fact that they’re treating marijuana like it’s a gateway to recreational use when it’s legitimately the only solution some people have found for their complex medical issues, is especially troubling.
This law shows that the FL Dept of Health doesn’t see marijuana as medicine—they’re treating it like a drug that can be abused when it’s a legitimate treatment option for patients who have been prescribed it by their doctors.
The Emergency Ruling
The Florida Department of Health has issued a new emergency rule that limits the number of marijuana patients can be prescribed.
The rule went into effect on August 29th, 2022 and states “a qualified physician may not issue a physician certification for more than three 70-day supply limits of marijuana or more than six 35-day supply limits of marijuana in a form for smoking.”
It continues to note that “a 35-day supply limit for marijuana in a form for smoking shall not exceed 2.5 ounces.” It then provides a list of dose limits for physicians to reference.
According to the ruling, a person can’t get more than 24,500 milligrams of THC in a 70-day period. For many medical marijuana patients, however, this is not a sufficient dose for symptom relief. Dr. David Berger, Certified Pediatrician at Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care said to ABC News that “some of my patients for instance, because of their medical needs, they might need to have more milligrams than what the state is allowing for.”
While medical professionals are allowed to apply for an exemption, it can take up to 10 business days to do, and Berger worries patients like his will run out of their medicine.
Nikki Fried’s Response
Florida’s agriculture commissioner and noted cannabis activist Nikki Fried (D), is urging state health officials to roll back an emergency rule that creates new restrictions on medical marijuana doses.
The new rule was passed by the Florida Department of Health August 29th, just three days after it was announced to the public. Fried believes the rule was passed without the customary public discussion period because officials didn’t want the comments that would have resulted from such a discussion. “They didn’t want the comments. They didn’t want that period of time,” Fried said.
In a letter to Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapao, Fried wrote that “three days’ notice is not just thoughtless, it’s irresponsible. It has caused chaos, confusion, and rightful panic among patients and providers.”
“By limiting patients to purchasing only a maximum of 24,500 milligrams of THC over a 70-day period and a limit of 2.5 ounces of smokable cannabis in a 35-day period, the state is overriding the professional judgment of doctors and endangering the health of patients,” she continued.
Fried continued to argue that the state has no business interfering in the private medical decisions made between doctors and patients.
When you take everything into consideration, it’s clear the Florida Department of Health is acting without any sense of perspective. They’re making decisions that could have serious consequences for medical patients, and they’re doing it without taking into account the needs of those patients.
They’re assuming that everyone needs the same amount of cannabis, when in reality, each person has different needs based on their unique situation. They’re assuming that everyone can afford to pay $100 per month for a prescription, when some people are struggling just to buy groceries. And they’re assuming that people won’t be able to go through the hassle of finding a new doctor if they want to continue using cannabis—and yet they seem perfectly willing to do so themselves if they need to switch medications.
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