Readers are aware that the law regarding marijuana is currently in a state of flux. While marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, states have been slowly shifting their positioning toward the drug by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, decriminalizing recreational use of the drug, and implementing regulated medical marijuana programs.
At present, there are 23 states, as well as the District of Columbia, which have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Florida is not currently among these states, but lawmakers in the House and the Senate will soon be considering proposals for a statewide medical marijuana program. The proposal to permit marijuana use for medicinal purposes comes in the wake of a law passed earlier this year which permits terminally ill patients to use experimental and unapproved drugs.
The law passed earlier this year, the Right to Try Act, requires patients to document that they have a terminal illness and to obtain approval from two physicians for the use of experimental drugs. Under the medical marijuana proposal, these rules would simply be extended to the use of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana programs create somewhat of a precarious situation, as some readers may know. First of all, as we noted, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Although the Department of Justice currently has a policy of not prosecuting those who follow state laws regarding marijuana, the law isn’t entirely on the side of medical marijuana growers, dealers and users. In addition, medical marijuana creates a precarious situation with respect to impaired driving. Those who regularly use medical marijuana for medical purposes are more at risk of being targeted for impaired driving.
We’ll speak about the latter issue in our next post.
CBS Miami, “Florida Lawmakers To Weigh In On Medical Marijuana Bills,” Nov. 11, 2015.
ProCon.org, “23 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC,” Accessed Nov. 12, 2015.