After two years of waiting, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has legalized smoking medical marijuana following a ban of smoking the substance in all forms in 2017 by then-governor Gov. Rick Scott.

The bill was passed on March 15 following Desantis’ announcement urging lawmakers to submit bills related to marijuana use. Now that the bill has been passed, its developments are now dependent on the Florida Department of Health, the agency assigned to come up with guidelines for licensed cannabis companies.

Agencies like the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine have been tasked to come up with the standardized informed consent forms and practice standards for the certification of smoking. Legislators are also yet to come up with rules regarding the product’s appearance, labelling, and delivery devices from a medical marijuana treatment center. Drafting rules involving these matters will start in April.

Even without definite rules yet, SB 182 has limitations concerning the amount of marijuana a patient may have. It was said that the patient can purchase and receive up to six 35-day supplies of smokable cannabis and may not exceed 2.5 ounces per each 35-day order. Patients can also have up to four ounces of marijuana. Also, the substance is only allowed indoors, inside workplaces and homes. And, before smoking, patients should also get a consent from a physician which contains information about the risks associated with smoking marijuana.

In a statement, DeSantis attributed his decision to pass the bill.

“I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional,” he announced.

The approval of the bill decriminalizes the act of smoking medical weed

The development also signals another milestone that some legislators of Florida wants to achieve–the legalization of recreational marijuana that hopefully can be achieved in the upcoming elections.

“I think the likelihood that it passes is pretty good in 2022 or 2024, and we should prepare for its passage,” Brandes, a legislator and promoter of the marijuana law, said.

The legalization of smoking medical cannabis has been a crusade for a lot of people in Florida. One of its leading crusaders is Cathy Jordan, who people referred to as the ‘patron saint’ of Florida medical marijuana. After being diagnosed in her 30s with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS), Cathy started to smoke marijuana claiming that the substance alleviate the pain and made her live longer.

Cathy became an inspiration of marijuana activists and supporters with her fervent effort to promote the act of smoking medical cannabis by traveling to the state capital with FCAN to lobby lawmakers on medical marijuana. Together with her husband Bob and other activists, Cathy gathered signatures for a medical marijuana ballot initiative.  These activists also held demonstrations outside the capital urging lawmakers to hear their concerns.

Cathy’s efforts paid off in 2013 when a bill for medical marijuana was passed in the legislature. The bill was named the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act.

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