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Amendment 2 Broadens Florida’s Already-Legal Cannabis Industry

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Amendment 2 On Nov. 8, Amendment 2 passed in Florida with 71 percent of the vote, legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and spiking interest in the state’s cannabis industry. But, unbeknownst to many, a legal pot industry was already well underway.

Amendment 2

Legal relief for seizures

Even before Amendment 2 passed, approximately 400 Floridians could legally use a rare strain of cannabis known as Charlotte’s Web, named for a 10-year-old girl named Charlotte Figi, who suffered from severe and nearly continuous epileptic seizures. This particular strain contains a significant amount of CBD, which the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has called “a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.”

However, it’s what it doesn’t contain that makes all the difference. These kinds of strains have too little THC to get the user high, which makes it great for medical use and discourages recreational use. Before the Amendment 2 vote, this low-THC marijuana could only be purchased by Florida patients whose doctors confirmed that they struggled with convulsion disorders, such as seizures or severe muscle spasms.

High-THC cannabis was also available in the state, but only to terminally ill patients defined as likely to pass away within one year.

Florida’s cannabis future

With the passing of Amendment 2, high-THC pot will now become available not only to patients on their death beds, but also to those with cancer, AIDS and other diseases, a recent Palm Beach Post article explains. While marijuana is legal for all residents in states like Colorado, its use in Florida is restricted to medical purposes and will be tightly regulated

Marijuana and substance abuse

Marijuana is often touted as a “harmless” drug, and news about its potential health benefits have a tendency to give these claims more traction. But it’s important to understand that, like any substance, there is a possibility for abuse.

There are specific medical conditions that warrant treatment that might include medical marijuana. However, just like prescription painkillers, the fact remains that the drug can be misused. And despite popular belief, marijuana misuse can lead to a substance abuse disorder. In fact, recent studies suggest as much as 30 percent of marijuana users have some degree of a use disorder.

What’s more, when people try to “game” the system to get prescriptions for marijuana when they’re not truly sick, they’re changing the legal landscape and drug availability for people who are.

In a recent NBC article, attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich urges those going into the cannabis business to uphold the integrity of the medical marijuana industry. “If somebody is not qualified to receive this medication, a doctor should not issue the recommendation,” she says. “Because, at the end of the day, they’d be hurting the masses of people that really do need all of this.

Dealing with addiction

All drugs have the potential for misuse. No matter what the substance, if you or a loved one is battling addiction, The Watershed’s team of experts can help you get the care you need. Take the first step to recovery by calling us at 1-800-861-1768.

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