Florida's medical marijuana law now in effect

Find Fla. doctor licensed to write recommendation
Posted at 4:50 AM, Jan 03, 2017

On Tuesday, Florida’s new medical marijuana amendment goes into effect. It means more people can use the drug and more potent strains are becoming legal. 

"I believe this is my answer because I've exhausted every standard method," said Lynne Currithers, who suffers from stage 4 breast cancer. 

Currithers visited Trulieve's Clearwater dispensary Tuesday to purchase a couple of bottles of the now legal, controversial drug in capsule form. 

Months before Currithers was even allowed inside the Clearwater store, she had to meet with a state-approved physician. 

New patients seeking medical marijuana treatments must first meet with a doctor listed on the Department of Health's Compassionate Use Registry. That consultation period must last at least three months before a physician can recommend medical marijuana. 

ABC Action News counted approximately 60 physicians on the registry located in the Tampa Bay area. 

Dr. David Kalin believes he is on the ground floor of a blossoming industry, now receiving calls from potential patients curious about the natural treatment. 

"I had to scramble and make sure that our office has a strong, structural process to take these patients and not give them high expectations that can't be delivered on," said Dr. Kalin. "And everything has to be done strictly by the letter of the law." 

A few months ago, ABC Action News cameras were inside Trulieve documenting first hand how oil is extracted from the marijuana plant.

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The new amendment does not allow for smoked cannabis, so patients will be ingesting the oil form and doctors will now have the option to prescribe higher levels of THC. 

THC is the psycho-active element of the plant, the higher the levels are the more of a “high” a person will experience.

In addition to people who suffer from many terminal illnesses that were previous covered now diseases including epilepsy, ALS, Parkinson's, AIDS, HIV, glaucoma, Chrohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD are also included. 

State lawmakers still have to pass specific rules and regulations on how the Department of Health will enact and regulate new patients under Amendment Two. 

For a full list of physicians in the Bay area that have been licensed to write a recommendation click here.