Last week, in a somewhat surprising move, Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act into law. Known as the “Charlotte’s Web” law, named after the girl for whom the strain was developed, the measure allows for the use of medicinal marijuana in the state, albeit in very limited cases.
The bill “creates a registry of users and gives guidelines for when [sic] doctors may prescribe the drug,” which is now limited to one specific strain of the marijuana, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer,” Scott said in a statement. “The approval of Charlotte’s Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life.”
Created by six brothers in Colorado in 2011, the Charlotte’s Web strain has a higher concentration of cannabidiol and a much lower dose of THC when compared to traditional strains of marijuana. Because of the low level of THC, users will not feel the euphoria normally associated with the drug but are still able to reap medical benefits.
The Stanley brothers developed the strain when approached by Matt and Paige Figi, whose daughter, Charlotte, suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy. After Matt, a former Green Beret, saw a video online of a boy who’s Dravet was effectively being treated with cannabis, the Figis, who had previously voted against medical marijuana, decided to explore its use for their daughter. They saw it as their only option as, by age five, Charlotte had lost the ability to walk, talk, eat, and was having up to 300 grand mal seizures a week, and no other medical options had improved her condition.
Since starting her medical marijuana treatment, Charlotte’s seizures have dropped to three to four a month, mostly in her sleep, and she is walking, talking, feeding herself, and even riding horses.
The total number of states allowing for some form of medical marijuana has now reached 23, plus the District of Columbia, with several other states allowing for the use of high-cannabidiol, low-THC oils, including conservative states such Utah, Arizona, and Georgia, the first southern state to have some form of legal medicinal marijuana legislation.
Currently, more than half of all states are “considering new or expanded marijuana reform legislation, including complete legalization for adults, medical marijuana, hemp use, and decriminalization,” according to WRCB-TV.
Florida’s constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana use in more cases than just those covered under the Charlotte’s Web Act will be on the ballot this November, with a bipartisan poll showing 70 percent support among likely voters. The state requires a 60 percent voter support to pass a constitutional amendment.