Free Essay Sample: Exploring Florida's Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act

Published: 2024-01-09
Free Essay Sample: Exploring Florida's Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Medicine Marijuana legalization
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1055 words
9 min read


The legalization of medical marijuana remains to be one of the most contentious topics in the world, as well as in the United States of America. As of today, 33 states in America have legalized the use of medical marijuana but with different restrictions or conditions. The State of Florida became number 22 in 2014 in the series of US states legalizing medical marijuana. Therefore, this paper focuses on the journey, intent, jurisdiction, the parties involved, and the implementation of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in the state of Florida.

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The Intent of the Law

The literature is replete with evidence on the importance of legalizing medical marijuana. Apparently, an avalanche of this evidence is majorly from the medical point of view emphasizing the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana (Bowen & McRae-Clark, 2018). Subsequently, the medical and economic justification for legalizing medical marijuana propelled the idea of pushing to have laws regulating medical marijuana. Therefore, the birth of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was engendered by the public interest in having the medicinal extracts from the marijuana plant adopted as legally approved medicine, especially for those living in chronic conditions often characterized by chronic pain (Florida State Government, 2016). The caveat on the access (who to prescribe), usage, and regulation is meant to institute guards that prevent risks for abuse, given that it is still a psychoactive product. Furthermore, the law delineates qualifications for those physicians who can prescribe the drug, the patient who qualifies for medical marijuana, what constitutes medical marijuana, and exemption from prohibited drugs allowing the drug to be accessible for those who need it.

Content of the Law

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act that was adopted in Florida following amendments, commonly referred to as Amendment 2, has several clauses aimed at enhancing the operationalization of the law. Part of the law identifies those who qualify for medical marijuana to include patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ALS, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and seizures (, 2020). Also, patients with a terminal illness whose prognosis is indicated with a survival period below one year qualify for medical marijuana. For the avoidance of doubt, Florida law emphasizes that marijuana can only be considered medical as long as it is prescribed by a certified physician, and dispensed from a designated medical marijuana treatment center (Boehnke et al, 2019). Those covered by the law to benefit from medical cannabis are Florida state-qualified patients as per the aforementioned medical diagnosis and must be a residents of Florida. Furthermore, the legality of medical marijuana does not allow its usage in public transport or any public place, in place of employment, in school, in a vehicle, or any other form of transport.

History of the Law

The genesis and the process of law drafting and formalization was not a one-stop point, but a series of activities. For starters, Florida introduced the legal framework for legalizing marijuana following the successful adoption of Senate Bill 1030 also the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. Governor Rick Scott signed the Act on June 16, 2014, allowing people with cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures, and muscle spasms to use prescribed medical marijuana. In November 2014, the first attempt to pass Florida Amendment 2(Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions) failed to garner a 60% majority of the votes by attaining 57%. In March 2016, State Bill 307 sought to revisit Florida Amendment 2 with the aim of expanding the scope of conditions that can be treated using medical marijuana from those in Senate Bill 1030 to incorporate terminal conditions that have poor prognosis outcomes. This time around, Florida voters approved the amendment with 71% majority votes. Subsequent changes that have been adopted include establishing the Office of Medical Marijuana Use under the Florida Department of Health. Also, there has been the establishment of the Medical Marijuana Use Registry – a database for certified doctors for prescribing the drug and a list of state-approved patients receiving medical marijuana. In March 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved Senate Bill 182, which allowed the use of smokable medical marijuana.

The Proponents and Opponents of the Law

Being a contentious topic, the bill attracted significant interest among the renowned public figures supporting or opposing the law. Among the prominent proponents, included Sen. Jeff Clemens, Sen. Oscar Brayon, Rep. Dace Kerner, former Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney John Morgan, George Soros, and Jeremy Bufford among others. The law also attracted the support of organizations such as the Florida Cannabis Action Network, the Florida Cannabis Industry Association, and the Libertarian Party of Florida among others. The opponents seeking to topple the popular majority approval of the Florida Amendment 2 included Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Sen. Don Gaetz, Rep. Daniel Davis, Rep. Will Weatherford, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Chief Justice Raoul Cantero. Organizations opposing the law included the Florida Family Policy Council, Florida Medical Association, Drug Policy Institute, and Florida Police Chiefs Association. The main argument for those opposing was pegged on the risks of abuse while those supporting considered the evidence supporting medical marijuana usage (Florida State Government, 2016).


The implementation of this law is within the jurisdiction of the State of Florida. The medical professionals are crucial stakeholders to successful implementation, which would then hint at the effectiveness of the law. Also, state health officials are vital stakeholders in implementing the law, given that it is domiciled in their department. Those found violating the law due to prevailing loopholes should be identified and brought to book to face legal proceedings. Therefore, the implementation is more likely to involve officials from the health, legal, and chronic patient populations.

References (2020). Florida marijuana legalization and medical marijuana treatment center sales initiative (2022). Ballotpedia.

Boehnke, K. F., Gangopadhyay, S., Clauw, D. J., & Haffajee, R. L. (2019). Qualifying conditions of medical cannabis license holders in the United States. Health affairs (Project Hope), 38(2), 295–302.

Bowen, L. L., & McRae-Clark, A. L. (2018). Therapeutic benefit of smoked cannabis in randomized placebo-controlled studies. Pharmacotherapy, 38(1), 80–85.

Florida State Government. (2016). Florida right to medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2. Ballotpedia.

Howell, K., Washington, A., Williams, P. M., Mathis, A. L., & Luque, J. S. (2019). Medical Marijuana Policy Reform Reaches Florida: A Scoping Review. Florida Public Health Review, 16, 128–136.

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