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420 with CNW — Florida Medical Cannabis Patients Surprised by Email Blast

Florida boasts more than 700,000 medical cannabis patients, and GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently opposing a proposal to legalize recreational cannabis, wants to highlight his achievements to this targeted group. Recently, Florida’s Health Department sent out an email to medical-cannabis patients, praising DeSantis for signing the state’s budget. The email also promoted a cancer research initiative by First Lady Casey DeSantis and highlighted various health issues addressed in the budget, including syphilis, HIV and hepatitis.

However, the email did not mention medical cannabis, which has raised concerns among advocates and patients who argue that the administration misused the patient list to push political messaging, violating the privacy of these patients. State Representative Kelly Skidmore, the top Democrat on the House Health Policy Committee, criticized the move as a misuse of power and information. She emphasized that patients did not consent to receive promotional material about the governor’s achievements.

In defense of its conduct, the Health Department said that the email was sent to every person in its databases — more than two million people — including the media, the general public, healthcare professionals and licensees. Weesam Khoury, a department spokesperson, did not elaborate on whether comparable marketing made use of patient records for COVID-19, HIV, cancer or other conditions. She was disappointed, she said, that the Associated Press chose to accentuate the annoyance caused by the email over the budget’s noteworthy initiatives.

Advocates argue that the issue extends beyond inconvenience to a breach of privacy. They worry that the broad public-records laws in Florida could allow someone to identify medical-cannabis patients from the email list, because these patients comprise about 35% of the email recipients. This could lead to unwarranted marketing, political messages or even job-related repercussions for patients.

Former agriculture commissioner and state Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried expressed surprise that the state was using the patient email list to promote policies. She said she would have encountered fierce criticism if she had taken similar action with the database of concealed weapons licenses. Fried referred to the action as reckless.

A medical-cannabis patient in Pensacola, who wished to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, mentioned plans to file a formal complaint. The patient compared the situation to a doctor disclosing private patient information for personal gain, insisting that accountability is necessary.

John Morgan, a personal injury attorney who led Florida’s 2016 medical cannabis initiative, questioned whether the email violated federal laws protecting medical information. He suggested that the email list could be highly valuable for political purposes, especially for promoting recreational cannabis legalization in the upcoming November election.

Leading cannabis companies such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY) could be concerned at the casual way in which the health department in Florida is regarding the registry of medical-marijuana patients, given the potentially serious consequences that can result when that data reaches the wrong hands and the loss is traced to a state government agency.

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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