Ten Floridians a day die due to opioids as Florida Legislature remains draconian on (legal) medical pot

If only the legislature could be as aggressive in battling heroin addiction as they are in blocking the will of nearly three quarters of Florida voters...

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click to enlarge A marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. - Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
A marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado.

During a discussion about zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries in St. Petersburg, Councilman Steve Kornell wondered aloud why, once medical marijuana is officially on the market, a prescription holder should be able to have it filled at a CVS.

“I'd let it go in every drugstore," Kornell said. "I think that would solve a lot of our issues.”

Kornell and his colleagues were discussing zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries, which are set to become a reality due to a state constitutional amendment voters passed in the 2016 election.

City officials proposed dispensary sites at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue North, Fifth Avenue North near Fourth Street, Fourth Street and 83rd avenue and a couple of other places you'd expect to find a head shop or vape store anyway.

The only problem with laying out how the city will facilitate the distribution of a voter-approved product?

Conservative leadership in the State Legislature, the entity charged with rolling out the policy, seems to have picked up its understanding of what marijuana is and does from Reefer Madness rather than, you know, observable facts.

They've filed a slew of bills that would undermine the will of the 72 percent of Florida voters who supported it, including one that would outlaw smokeable or edible marijuana and would limit use of vaporized marijuana to terminally ill patients.

Last month, a most Florida voters polled on lawmakers' progress said they disapproved on the way they are handling the rollout.

The legislature has until May 5 to pass matching bills in the House and Senate for implementing medical marijuana, which would then go to the governor's desk to get signed into law. If none of that happens, notes The Orlando Sentinel, the Florida Department of Health will have to come up with its own rules for implementation. 

Lawmakers' bizarre behavior toward medical marijuana occurs against a nationwide backdrop in which a deadly opioid epidemic is playing out. In Florida, opioid addiction is said to kill an average of nearly ten people a day — and all state officials like Governor Rick Scott seem to want to do about it is talk.

Not that socially conservative lawmakers would be even remotely open to considering listing opioid addiction among the conditions for which doctors will be able to legally subscribe medical marijuana (others include post-traumatic stress disorder, some cancers and Parkinson's disease), but some studies show that pot may help addicts wean themselves off hard drugs like opioids.

Lawmakers have said they are concerned that a non-draconian marijuana policy would set the stage for legalizing recreational use, because in their view, apparently, comical paranoia and the will to eat a pizza topped with actual tacos are far more horrific than an addiction to legal prescription painkillers that may lead to heroin addiction. 

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