Florida Department of Health hosts workshops for medical marijuana

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Florida Department of Health hosted workshops surrounding the state’s newly-passed medical marijuana amendment, Tuesday morning, and there was no shortage of opinions as to how the new law should be written.

Many audience members were forced to stand during the workshops, held from 10 a.m. until noon at the Broward County Health Department, located at 780 S.W. 24th St., in Fort Lauderdale.

The goal was to address the implementation of Florida’s Amendment 2, which was passed in November’s general election. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since January.

Now it all comes down to the details, like who is granted access to it and how much they are allowed to acquire.

Attendees lined up to have their voices heard on the still contentious issue, like Irvin Rosenfeld, who has been smoking federal marijuana for more than 30 years. “I want the patients of Florida to have the same rights that the federal government’s given me in full for the last 31 years,” he said as people clapped. “That’s what Amendment 2 is all about.”

Representatives from the department gathered input from stakeholders and the public regarding which medical conditions should permit the use of medical marijuana. Officials also discussed the different types of marijuana that will be allowed.

Those in favor of medical marijuana said it will help with many illnesses, including Steve Smith, who said it helped his son’s battle with bone marrow cancer.

“If it had not been for THC with my son, I would’ve had four years of chemo instead of three years of fun while we did chemo,” said Smith. “Still able to play with him in the hospital, still mystified doctors, still pissed ’em off because they didn’t understand how he was riding a bike and all other kids were bedridden, because I hid it from them, and I did not tell them I was giving him cannabis. I did it when their backs were turned.”

Another attendee spoke about how marijuana allowed him to work despite being sick. “I’m not a criminal. I’m a father of three; my wife’s a teacher,” he said.

Opponents are past fighting back and now they are hoping to help shape how medical marijuana is used in the workplace, like school districts. “There will be some who will use machinery, drive school buses, so these are all important considerations,” said Miami-Dade School Board member Martin Karp.

Similar meetings are expected to take place in Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee until officials draft rules for the amendment.

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