Sarasota is about to light up in the wake of the progressive medical marijuana movement. Back in November, the Florida Department of Health approved five nurseries to be the testing grounds for the state’s first foray into medical marijuana distribution. The five appointed nurseries will cover five regions of Florida, respectively. Twenty-eight nurseries were originally vying for the coveted licenses.
One Sarasota-based company is about to make competitive headway as a result of Florida’s foray into medical marijuana testing and distribution. Alternative Medical Enterprises is creating a patch that uses cannabis as an active ingredient. The patch will reportedly be derived from the same material that produces industrial hemp. Researchers at the company are currently testing ways to transfer the cannabis compound through the patch material so that it can penetrate the skin. Academic researchers at the University of South Florida’s Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation helped to develop the patch’s chemical compounds.
The new medical marijuana industry, on which the U.S. government is seeking a patent, is at odds with current criminal laws on the books regarding marijuana possession.
Ironically, Florida still has some of the harshest marijuana laws on the books. Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana still constitutes a misdemeanor under state law, which can result in up to a year of incarceration. By contrast, possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York State results in negligible penalties.
Morgan & Morgan founder John Morgan has been one of the most vocal proponents for increasing the scope of medical marijuana distribution and production across the Sunshine State. Working alongside United for Care — People United for Medical Marijuana, he’s getting the issue put back on the ballot for the upcoming election. The 2014 vote in favor of the new legislation failed by two percent. United for Care’s campaign manager Ben Pollara says, on the organization’s website, that this current campaign will aims to educate undecided voters on the issue.
It will be interesting to see the progression of medical marijuana legislation in Sarasota County, a Republican stronghold, in the wake of new laws surrounding the expansion of licensed dispensaries. In an op-ed featured on the Herald Tribune’s webpage for medical marijuana, author John Romano surmises that Florida isn’t quite ready for the expansion of marijuana laws due to other subsets of laws that will now be affected as a result of medical marijuana’s legalization. His case in point is driving laws. Unlike alcohol, these is no protocol in effect to test — or regulate — the impairment of a driver under the influence of marijuana. Currently, Florida’s first-time DUI penalties are less than those of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
If you have experienced arrest or harassment due to the possession of medical marijuana or have faced car accident injury, contact our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to see how our firm may be of help to your case. Fill out our online form for a free quote.