The United States – The first approved medical cannabis store in Florida opened on Tuesday, in a mall in northeast Tallahassee.
In 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed a law legalizing low-THC marijuana, with the aim of helping children with severe health problems, such as muscle spasms.
A panel of state officials consisting of three members was appointed with the task of selecting six approved providers, one for each part of the state. Trulieve won for Northwest Florida.
And now, after two years of debate, the first medical marijuana store opens in Florida, even equipped with statewide delivery.
The store will offer both the low-THC and the higher-THC strain, allowed only for patients who are terminally ill.
CEO Kim Rivers told reporters the marijuana was grown without the use of pesticides and can be purchased in four different forms: gel capsules, tinctures, concentrated oil and vape cartridges.
Rivers also stated that the opening of the store signified “a historic day” for Florida.
The co-founders of the CannaMoms movement also attended. Moriah Barnhart, the organization’s CEO claimed that “the will of the people does change the world”, and beamed at the idea of stop being called ‘criminals’ for advocating medical cannabis for their children.
Even though under state law twenty-five states including the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana, under federal crime selling medical marijuana is still illegal.
However, this may change soon, since Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan is backing a state constitutional amendment planned for the 2016 election, which would create the “right to medical marijuana.”
A historic landmark: First Trulieve patient
Rivers said Saturday that Trulieve delivered its first order of low-THC medical cannabis to a patient who suffers from dystonia, (seizures and chronic muscle spasms). The medical marijuana was sent to Hudson, in Pasco County, near Tampa.
To purchase medical marijuana in Trulieve’s store, citizens must remember to bring their doctor’s authorized medical cannabis recommendation.
Fighting Medical Marihuana
The group People United for Medical Marijuana (also known as United for Care) backed the 2014 initiative and is planning to do the same on the November 2016 ballot.
United for Care has repeatedly been funded by Florida’s attorney John Morgan.
Turns out not everybody is happy John Morgan’s ballot initiative. The Drug-Free Florida Committee has just received an $800,000 contribution from the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust.
In 2014, the trust did the same thing, that time contributing with $540,000. In the end, they resulted victorious when the ballot was defeated. They are hoping to be successful again in November this year.
Is Medical Marijuana replacing other prescription drugs?
A study led by Ashley Bradford, a student researcher at the University of Georgia has found that an estimated of $165.2 million were saved in Medicare in 2013, the same year that 17 states and the District of Columbia legalized medical marijuana.
“The result suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes,” said Bradford.
The researchers reviewed all claims for prescriptions regarding depression, pain, glaucoma, anxiety, nausea, sleep disorders, spasticity, psychosis and seizures in the period between 2010 and 2013.
These nine conditions are commonly treated with medical marijuana. The team found out that there was an astonishing decline in other prescription medications, big enough to save more than $150 million.
The researchers have estimated that if all states had legalized medical marijuana, Medicare would have saved about $468 million on these prescription drugs.
Meanwhile, in Colorado…
While some studies highlight the benefits of medical marijuana, especially regarding Medicare savings, other studies have found the risks of legalization.
Dr. Sam Wang, from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, has discovered that cases of children visiting the emergency room for marijuana consumption have increased five-fold since recreational marijuana stores opened in the State.
This is worrisome since regulators adopted strict rules to prevent accidental poison cases. Marijuana is supposed to be sold in child-proof containers, and edible marijuana products have to be stamped with a particular symbol.
A new law will ban marijuana edibles that are shaped like fruit or animals, to prevent further children confusion.
The study’s authors found that edibles (which include anything from brownies and gummies to salad dressing and butter) were related to almost half of all accidental ingestion cases.
While Dr. Wang claimed health workers were certainly expecting an increase.
“As far as the poison center, we were a little surprised at the amount of the increase,” he added.
These cases are unique since no other drug is cooked into sweets and other things that may be very tempting to children.
Most of the children will only suffer minor consequences, however, some have had to be intubated, another suffered respiratory insufficiency and had to receive continuous pressure, and there was only one death recorded: An 11-month baby who died after arriving at the pediatric hospital with a rapid heartbeat.
“The numbers certainly aren’t huge, but the trend that we’re seeing can’t be ignored,” declared Dr. Wang.
Source: Daily Mail