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420 with CNW — Florida Medical Cannabis Doctors Concerned About Possible Disruptions Once Recreational Use Legalized

Florida’s initiative to legalize recreational marijuana is causing a significant divide within the state’s medical cannabis sector. Florida’s largest medical cannabis company, Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF), is supporting Amendment 3, which seeks to legalize recreational cannabis for adults over age 21.

However, approximately 2,000 doctors certified to prescribe medical marijuana are expressing concerns. They warn that this amendment could disrupt access for the state’s 882,000 medical-cannabis patients.

The influx of recreational users could deplete the marijuana products and specific strains that patients rely on for conditions such as severe pain. The passage of Amendment 3 may also result in a reorganization of regulations, giving the Republican-led legislature, which has always favored stricter rules, more authority.

Dr. Michelle Beasley, a Pensacola-based cannabis doctor, finds herself in a difficult position. Although she supports legalization, she is wary of the “poison pill” language in the medical cannabis legislation. This provision states that the law will expire if voters pass another marijuana-related amendment.

The 2017 medical cannabis law, approved by the legislature following the 2016 voter-approved amendment for medical use, contains a sunset clause that mandates the law’s expiration six months after any new marijuana-related constitutional amendment is adopted. The intention was to create a single regulatory framework. However, it also grants the Republican-controlled legislature greater freedom to regulate the industry, potentially reverting to the restrictive low-THC law of 2014 if no new regulations are passed.

Amendment 3 is up for vote in November and requires 60% of the vote to pass. If enacted, it would enable Florida’s authorized medical-cannabis dispensaries to sell to the general public; the legislature would decide on future recreational licenses.

There’s nothing to worry about, according to the campaign supporting Amendment 3. Medical cannabis providers and patients, they claim, are protected by the amendment. Smart and Safe Florida, the committee that supports the legislation, argues that any sunset would be in violation of the 2016 medical cannabis amendment and that the wording referring to “poison pill” is meaningless. They do admit, however, that the sunset provision is not guaranteed.

One of the main proponents of the 2017 law, Senator Jason Brodeur, said that new regulations would be required. He referred to the financial impact statement for 2023, implying that a straightforward interpretation of the wording would necessitate a fresh start.

Over the years, there have been unsuccessful attempts to remove the sunset clause. The most recent attempt failed last year when a bill to limit the amount of THC in recreational cannabis failed to pass.

Doctors are increasingly concerned as polling shows that Amendment 3 could surpass the 60% voting threshold. A Fox News poll released recently indicates that 66% of voters support legalization.

Not all physicians think the sunset clause will be implemented. DocMJ CEO Aaron Bloom doubts the sunset clause is a threat but worries that dispensaries will shift focus from patients to recreational users. Bloom notes that some clinics have already begun stocking items intended for recreational use. He worries that if the focus changes, dispensary employees might not be properly trained to help patients and might even suggest inappropriate goods.

Beasley and others anticipate a decline in business from patients needing follow-up appointments, which are required by the state to continue using medical cannabis. Further, she notes that some patients might find it cheaper to purchase recreational cannabis, avoiding the approximately $500 in doctor visits and annual state fees associated with the medical program. Ultimately, the decision rests with the legislature and voters.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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