Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill this week that finally makes it legal for medical marijuana patients to smoke bud. This bill overturns previous Governor Rick Scott’s 2017 ban on smokable forms of marijuana, including whole flower and pre-rolls, which limited dispensaries to selling vapes, concentrates, edibles, pills, and creams.
In 2016, nearly three-quarters of Florida voters voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. DeSantis had asked Florida’s congress to work on this latest piece of legislation upon his inauguration into office. “What the Florida Legislature has done to implement the people’s will has not been done in accordance with what the amendment envisioned,” DeSantis said over the weekend, referring to his predecessor’s term. “Whether they (patients) have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that? I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”
“I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld, said DeSantis in a statement announcing the new bill. “Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
Marijuana flowers will become available in dispensaries in the coming weeks once the Florida Department of Health implements rules that ensure that the product can be sold safely and appropriately. Medical marijuana patients will be permitted to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of flowers every five weeks. Patients will not be allowed to smoke their weed in public.
Since 2016, a quarter of a million Floridians have submitted applications to become medical marijuana patients. Cannabis analysts expect Florida dispensary sales to see a significant boost, now that flowers will be available. For one thing, flowers tend to be more affordable than other legal cannabis products since it is essentially a raw crop that requires little to no processing. Additionally, whole flower expands cannabis treatment options for patients who are looking for instant relief from their symptoms or ailments. “From a medicinal purpose smoking flower is the best source of relief for some patients, that can not be achieved any other way,” said an analyst in an interview with Forbes.