Lawmakers in Florida Want to Put a Cap on THC. What Does It Mean for Medical Marijuana Prescription?
Florida lawmakers recently put a bill in motion to put a cap on THC. But what exactly does that mean? Essentially, lawmakers want to limit the potency of THC products sold for medical use. The cap would determine medical marijuana prescription in three ways: the overall strength, the conditions approved for higher potencies, and the extent to which physicians can advertise medical marijuana as a natural alternative medicine to patients.
Florida’s Political Struggle with Medical Marijuana
Republican lawmakers in Florida (and elsewhere in the States) have long since had a skepticism towards marijuana and THC as a medical remedy. In 2016, voters approved the constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana, with over 71% of Florida voters in favor. Since then, the number of qualified medical marijuana patients in Florida is now almost at 500,000.
Even with that growth and overwhelming support, Republicans have been trying to lay a framework that limits THC for medical purposes. The Professions & Public Health Subcommittee passed HB1455, which has now passed into the House of Representatives.
What Does the Proposed THC Cap Entail?
The proposed cap would place smokable marijuana at a 10% maximum potency and 60% maximum potency in other medical marijuana products. The bill also limits patients to 15,000 milligrams of THC every 35 days.
The only way doctors prescribe anything higher under this bill would be if the patient has a terminal illness. This creates a problem for people suffering from chronic, non-terminal illnesses like fibromyalgia, who also benefit from the natural pain relief with THC.
Besides limiting potency, the bill would also create advertising restrictions for doctors who prescribe cannabinoids to their patients, making it harder for natural remedy doctors to promote patients.
Concern About THC Caps for Medical Marijuana Patients
The bill wasn’t without pushback, however. Advocates in favor of medical marijuana argue that the legislation would cause patients to spend even more money to get the results they need in their treatment.
Some worry that it would even force patients to turn to the illegal market to get what they need for pain relief. It also raises the concern that other states may follow in Florida’s footsteps, despite 15 states already enacting positive medical marijuana reform to make cannabis more available to those who need it for chronic pain management.
Some physicians have outright stated that bills such as this are based on outdated information and that THC caps are not based on current, proven scientific information. These physicians stand by the notion that cannabinoids are helpful to patients when monitored and administered correctly.
While some proponents of THC caps claim research shows a negative effect between high-potency marijuana products and mental health, there are no updated, clear scientific reports of this. THC has been shown to decrease the symptoms of mental illnesses like anxiety.
House Democrats have also pushed back against THC caps. Some show concern because those who have historically been against medical marijuana reform are now seated in the Senate. Democrats claim the conversation still hasn’t shifted from divvying up money brought in to what is, in reality, medically sound for people.
Although the bill was put into motion, it’s worth noting that the Florida Senate has stopped proposed THC caps for the last two years. Still, Senate Republicans are hoping for a turnaround this year. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ stance remains unclear, and his approval would be necessary for the bill to become law.
What Could This Mean for Medical Marijuana Prescription in Ohio?
For now, it’s something to keep an eye on. Especially since previous THC caps were met with resistance and were ultimately shut down. Even though there are now more pro-THC-cap members sitting in the Florida Senate than before, there is proof that higher potency medical marijuana products are beneficial to more than those who have terminal illnesses.
Those with chronic, painful issues like Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis also benefit from THC in their pain management. Simply put, the science and data are there to support the argument against THC caps.
Although this is happening in Florida, there is a concern that it could set a precedent for other states should the bill be successful. With Ohio being more of a red state these days, it’s understandable that Florida’s movements would cause some worry.
However, the current fact remains that since medical marijuana’s legalization in Ohio (2016), the Medical Marijuana Control Program has over 160,000 registered patients who receive medicinal cannabis as a natural alternative medicine for pain management. The list of approved conditions can be treated with medical marijuana in Ohio and a push for growth. People want to add more to encompass the wide range of illnesses and conditions that people face.
Similarly, Ohio took steps last year towards decriminalizing marijuana charges. The bill (SB3) passed by the Ohio Senate reclassified low-level drug offenses from being felonies to misdemeanors. It also got rid of fines and jail time for anyone found with less than 200 grams of marijuana in their possession.
As of right now and for the foreseeable future, Ohio remains a state working to reform its stance on marijuana in a positive way.
Share your thoughts on Florida’s bill in the comments below! Learn more about how you can get an approved medical marijuana card in Ohio and start living a better life without pain. Or schedule a telemedicine appointment with a physician to see if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Ohio. A happier, pain-free lifestyle awaits you!