Why sick Floridians are forced to wait on medical marijuana use after Amendment 2 passes

State lawmakers still have to write regulations
Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 04:55:55-05

Floridians voted to expand the state's medical marijuana use in an overwhelming turnout Tuesday night.

Amendment Two gives sick Floridians access to cannabis treatments, allowing access to patients suffering from illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.

Some patients suffering from cancer, severe seizures, and other life-threatening ailments already have access to medicinal marijuana in Florida through the state's Compassionate Use law.  

Election night signaled much-needed relief for Kevin Mundaca and his two-year-old daughter, Lilli, who was diagnosed with Leukemia in August.

"She throws up ten times a day, she feels horrible," said Mundaca. "I feel useless, you know at times when I can't do anything."

The Mundaca's have to make weekly trips to John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg for Lilli's chemotherapy.

But the Sarasota father says his daughter desperately needs a natural remedy to supplement the painful side effects of chemo.

"I'm still doing a lot of research of when it will be available to her. She needs it in, from what I've researched, an oil-type of form," said Mundaca.

But there's still a long road ahead for the Floridians now eligible to buy non-smoked marijuana products.

State lawmakers will first have to create specific rules and regulations for new patients.

There's also a 90 day waiting period and they must seek consultation by a doctor certified through the state's Office of Compassionate Use.

"There is a world out there in Florida, we estimate 400,000 to 500,000 really, really, really sick people who will benefit," said

Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, who spent millions of dollars campaigning in for Amendment 2.

Supporters told ABC Action News they predict that newly-qualified patients will have access to cannabis by July 2017.  

If lawmakers choose not to act, it's up to the Florida Department of Health to implement Amendment 2.  Leaving families like the Mundaca's waiting for officials in Tallahassee to act.

"We need it immediately, it needs to be passed fast," said Mundaca.