Florida’s “Charlotte’s Web” Medical Marijuana was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, but it is now likely that a second regulatory bill will have to make it through the state Legislature before patients can actually start receiving treatment, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Technically named the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, the law made legal the use of Charlotte’s Web, a low-THC, high-cannabidiol strain of marijuana, by patients suffering from epilepsy, ALS, and cancer.
Problems stem from an increase in the associated costs with running the medical marijuana industry, and Florida law requires the state government to “ratify rules that cost in excess of $1 million over five years.”
Office of Compassionate Use Director Patricia Nelson told the PNJ that she does anticipate the costs for the medical marijuana businesses to operate to top the $1 million mark, requiring state ratification.
Earlier this year, a judge agreed with a Miami-based farm and others that “objected to the Department of Health’s proposed use of a lottery to pick the licenses”, which resulted in this delay.
While patients in Florida wait for access to the much needed Charlotte’s Web, across the state line in Georgia, the first participants in a clinical trial of Epidiolex, an experimental drug which also contains cannabidiol, are beginning to receive treatment.
Unlike Florida, Georgia’s law, a bill to allow the use of the drug in children suffering from specific illnesses, did not make it through the state legislature. The trial was approved by Gov. Nathan deal, Medical Daily reported.
“No one with a heart could hear the stories of these children and their patients and not want to exhaust every possibility to provide them with the treatment they need to combat this debilitating condition,” Gov. Deal told ABC News.
One of the children in these trials is Preston Weaver, a 7-year old with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – a form of epilepsy that has left him unable to walk, talk, or see.
Valarie Weaver, Preston’s mother, told ABC News that even though Preston has been chosen for the trial, she still plans to campaign for the legislation.
“Preston and I are still going to fight for all the other [children] too,” Weaver said. “We need to be there until this becomes legal and every child in this state has the option for this treatment if they need it.”
Hopefully families like the Weavers won’t have to fight too long. The results that families in states where these types of medical marijuana are legal have seen are astounding.
The Figgi’s, whose daughter the strain is named after, saw their child suffering from multiple grand mal seizures a day, and unable to walk, talk, or feed herself. After beginning treatment with Charlotte’s Web, her seizures decreased dramatically, and Charlotte regained her motor skills and even learned to ride a bike.
As of June, 23 states had legalized cannabis for medical use, with Alaska and Oregon becoming the third and fourth to legalize recreational adult use of marijuana this past November.