PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Florida, after Amendment 2 passed with over 71 percent of the vote.
Two years ago, the ballot initiative narrowly failed to reach the 60 percent approval threshold for passage.
More than six million Floridians voted yes on amendment two, legalizing medical marijuana for people with specific debilitating diseases.
"I have so many patients that have cancer,” said Physician and Acupuncturist Raquel Skidmore.
Cancer is one of the debilitating diseases under Amendment 2 that medicinal marijuana can be prescribed for by a licensed state physician. Some others include epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, and AIDS.
"I have so many patients with debilitating conditions, seizures and they've been waiting and waiting and waiting and finally I'm so happy,” said Skidmore.
The amendment also requires the department of health to register and regulate marijuana production and distribution centers.
Local medical marijuana physician, Dr. Raquel Skidmore of Gulf Coast Holistic and Primary Care says there is a strict protocol physicians must follow before prescribing marijuana.
"The patients have to go to the doctor for the same reason, three times within 90 days and if the patient still qualifies, then they get on the list,” said Skidmore.
The amendment takes effect in January. After that, the Florida Department of Health has six months to give regulations to patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana treatment centers.
"In the body, powerful anti-inflammatory, very good for digestion, for seizures, PTSD. It calms down the nervous system,” said Skidmore.
The health department also has the task of setting up possession limits for patients and issuing identification cards.
Dr. Skidmore said she believes marijuana can save people's lives, adding that she’s been waiting for this amendment to pass for years.
“Because I know that some patients are just waiting. They're like in a race with time,” said Skidmore.
Medical marijuana was already legal in 26 states. Besides Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota also approved medical marijuana.
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