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Medical Cannabis Expands in Florida

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Expanded access to medical cannabis in Florida goes into effect on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The result of voters passing Amendment 2 in November, the new laws will significantly expand what medical conditions qualify for medical marijuana, but the rules to fully implement Amendment 2 are still months away.

The disconnect between the Jan. 3 deadline and the rules governing Florida's medical cannabis industry means patients, doctors, and lawmakers are charting new and uncertain waters.

Currently there are only six licensed marijuana dispensaries in Florida. Patients must have a 90-day relationship with a doctor who has completed the required training before they can get a recommendation for medical cannabis. 

Despite the passage of Amendment 2, there's a growing number of moratoriums for marijuana dispensaries in cities and villages across Florida, including Sarasota and Estero. Local leaders are implementing a "wait-and-see" approach as the state Department of Health, and lawmakers in Tallahassee, grapple with the rules and laws that will ultimately govern a statewide system of legal marijuana harvesting, licensing, selling, and more.

Monday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, we’ll talk with Katy Errington, the Estero Village council member who initiated the local moratorium. We’ll also talk with Dr. Barry Gordon, a physician for 32 years now opening a clinic in Venice focused on connecting patients with medical marijuana.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.