Critics: Medical marijuana deal doesn't go far enough

- In a special session on Friday, the Florida Senate passed Bill 8A, with various measures that will save medical marijuana patients money.  One of the new regulations will decrease the number of times a patient has to see a physician.

"They don't have to be seen every 45 days, as they did before," said Orlando Dr. Joseph Rosado,  "and they can get medications for longer than 45 days."

Also, patients will no longer have to wait 90 days for a doctor to recommend medication.

"To date, I've had 15 patients pass away, waiting for the 90 days, and I've had another handful of patients that have not been to my office, because they didn't believe they were going to make it the 90 days."

But Dr. Rosado said the bill isn't giving voters what they asked for, echoing the sentiment of some lawmakers.  SB 8A specifies that cannabis can be vaped or digested, but it cannot be smoked. 

"In Amendment 2, there are no limitations for product, so the patient would be eligible to get the whole plant whether's it's a leaf, bud, seed, edibles. Those are available to the patient under Amendment 2. Under SB 8A those are not," said Dr. Rosado.

Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens agrees, saying SB 8A doesn't go far enough.

"When 90 percent of the people who access a certain kind of medicine do it in the same way, and we ban that or don’t make that allowable as a part of the bill, I don’t think that is the will of the voters.”

SB 8A still has to pass the Florida House of Representatives and must be signed by the governor, before it can be implemented.

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