Gov. Scott’s Signature Makes Medical Marijuana Officially Legal in Florida

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law on June 24, 2017 officially making medical marijuana legal for patients with certain debilitating diseases. [1]

Ben Pollara, the executive director of Florida for Care, said:

“This is a good day for sick and suffering Floridians. The signing of this law provides a framework for the future of our state’s medical marijuana system and while it is far from perfect, it will begin providing access to patients.”

The legislation formalizes an amendment to the state constitution approved by 71% voters last fall that legalized medical marijuana, and establishes regulations for the new industry. [2]

Scott himself voted against the amendment and did not issue a statement upon signing the bill. He had earlier indicated that he would sign the legislation.

Under the bill, medical marijuana will be available with a doctor’s prescription to Florida residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or any other debilitating conditions.

In order to prescribe medical marijuana, doctors must first go through 2-hour training to become certified by the state. The state will set up a registry of eligible patients, which doctors must check before prescribing cannabis.

Seventeen growers have been licensed in Florida, and each license holder may have up to 25 dispensaries. The state will make another license available with each 100,000 new eligible patients added to the registry.

The bill also clears the way for 10 more medical marijuana treatment centers by October 3, 2017, which is the deadline for the rule to be enacted. There are already 7 treatment centers operating.

Medical marijuana products can be sold as edibles, vapes, sprays, and tinctures. Smoking marijuana is prohibited under the law. The law allows patients to receive an order of three 70-day supplies before having to be re-examined by a doctor.

The ban on smoking riles John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who financed the constitutional amendment’s campaign, and he has promised to sue. Tampa strip club magnate Joe Rednerk has also promised to sue, but over patients not being allowed to grow their own plants. [3]

Morgan said June 23:

“Great Scott, it’s a no-brainer. Gov. Scott wants to run for U.S. Senate. If he didn’t sign this bill, he couldn’t run for dog catcher. It’s not perfect. I’m going to sue for the smoking but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July.”


[1] Associated Press

[2] Orlando Sentinel

[3] Miami Herald

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Study: Cannabidiol-Based Medication Reduces Intense Seizures by 50%

Marijuana has been associated with reducing seizures in people with epilepsy for years, but only now is the topic getting more of the scientific scrutiny it deserves. In a recent study, cannabidiol (CBD) reduced the number of seizures by half in a substantial number of children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy.

GW Pharmaceuticals, a developer of cannabidiol, sponsored the study.

In a press release, study author Dr. Anup Patel, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said:

“Our study found that cannabidiol shows great promise in that it may reduce seizures that are otherwise difficult to control. This is important because this kind of epilepsy is incredibly difficult to treat.”

Tracking the Effect of CBD on Seizures

For the study, researchers followed 225 people with LGS for 14 weeks. The participants had an average age of 16 and experienced an average of 85 “drop seizures” (also called atonic seizures) a month.

Read: Cannabis Compounds Reduce Serious Seizures in Children by 53%

These types of seizures result in a loss of muscle tone, causing the person’s head or body to suddenly go limp. Though atonic seizures generally last less than 15 seconds, the loss of muscle tone causes the person to fall to the ground, and they may need to wear a helmet or other form of head protection. [2]

LGS usually first affects patients beginning in childhood, have different types of seizures on a daily basis, and often have learning impairments. [3]

Source: LGS Foundation

The participants had also unsuccessfully tried an average of 6 epilepsy drugs and were taking an average of 3 epilepsy drugs during the study.

  • One group of participants was given 20 mg per kilogram (mg/kg) of cannabidiol daily.
  • A second group received just 10 mg/kg.
  • A third group received a placebo.

On average, the group that took the lower dose of cannabidiol had a 37% decrease in seizures. The participants who took 20 mg/kg saw their seizures decrease by half or more.

The placebo group also saw a decrease – about 17%. About 15% had their seizures decline by half or more.

After doing the math, the researchers concluded that participants in the high-dose group were 2.6 times more likely to report their overall condition had improved compared with the those in the placebo group.

Read: Cannabis Compound Found to Help Rare Forms of Epilepsy

Some 94% of those in the high-dose group and 84% of those in the lower-dose group did experience side effects. About 72% of the placebo group said they, too, had side effects. However, the side effects – including loss of appetite and sleepiness – were mild to moderate. [1] [4]

Patel said:

“Our results suggest that cannabidiol may be effective for those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in treating drop seizures. This is important because this kind of epilepsy is incredibly difficult to treat. While there were more side effects for those taking cannabidiol, they were mostly well tolerated. I believe that it may become an important new treatment option for these patients.”

Next, the team plans to seek approval from the FDA to license cannabidiol LGS sometime this year.

The study findings were presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston.


[1] Healthline

[2] Epilepsy Foundation

[3] Vocativ

[4] UPI

LGS Foundation

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