Have you heard the saying ‘if you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu’? Not sure where I heard it, it is more ‘dog eat dog’ and ‘only the strong will survive’ propaganda, but if someone is saying it, someone believes it.
Florida has six bills set to work their way through the committee process. A bill by Representative Gaetz and Senator Bradley has already cleared two House Committees and one Senate Committee. The bill would expand the right of experimental treatment – a law that passed last year, to include full spectrum cannabis for terminally ill patients.
Other bills include a bill to remove cannabis from Schedule 1, a bill to expand the low THC bill, several hemp bills and a bill to create a comprehensive medical marijuana program by Senator Brandes. So while there are a number of bills out there, the question still remains, “are we on the table?”
Wednesday, January 13, the Regulated Industries committee heard testimony on the progress of the low THC cannabis bill that passed in 2014. The Department of Health spoke about the volumes of applications they processed. The director, Christian Bax stated that they reviewed more than 300,000 pages or the equivalent of each reviewer reading War and Peace 21 times. The five chosen dispensaries sent representatives to the meeting. Four of the five licenses are under legal challenge, but promise they are on track to have low THC oil available for cancer patients, epilepsy suffers and person with persistent spasticity by the end of September. There was indication as to the cost per dose, so we really don’t know what these products will cost. They promised it will be available in oil, patches, transdermal, and pills; all through home delivery and a series of retail shops.
As time ran short the most critical testimony went unheard. Part two of the act passed in 2014 authorized the Department of Health to authorize a study of the GW pharmaceutical product on 50 patients. Twenty-five are already enrolled. Among patients with epilepsy 36% are unresponsive to drugs. Of the 25 patients who failed with other drugs, 100 percent saw therapeutic results. Among the twenty-five some have other issues, like rating high on the autism spectrum. They saw results there too!
Of course, those of us who have been following the issue know cannabis is the right medicine for kids with autism and epilepsy, but lawmakers need to see the imperial evidence and as more people find healing with cannabis, we move closer to the understanding cannabis is a right for humans and necessary for every creature with an endocannabinoid system.
Today is day four of Florida’s sixty-day session. Some will remember the Florida House adjourned early last year; the ripple of that act is still being felt. The House and Senate are moving swiftly on issues valuable to their constituents come November. They are talking about getting the job done and being home for their families this spring.
For me, my spring will be a little less bright. I’ve lost more than one person since taking up this fight. The ghosts of the souls lost before we allow people to legally use this plant for health and healing is weighing heavy on my heart.
Next week I’ll be traveling with my husband for his business, but TEAM CAN is hosting Cannabis 101 at the Capitol on Wednesday. Our team includes pioneers in the area of research, education, medicine and patients who are ready to help lawmakers and the public understand the value of this plant. Working under the title, One Plant Many Use or #1PlantManyUses you can follow the day from home via Twitter and Facebook.