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The title of the bill is “SB 8A – Establishes Rules for Growing Medical Marijuana”. It was introduced on June 7, 2017, by Senator Bradley. The bill represents the state of Florida. Since companion bills have been passed, the policy will go into effect after the companion initiatives have been considered.
The bill attempts to specify the conditions of growing marijuana for medical use. It outlines that the state’s sales tax should be exempted. In addition, it defines the medical conditions in which this treatment can be prescribed to patients. Initially, several chronic diseases such as increased spasmodic disorders, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses have been included in the list of diseases allowing the consumption of this substance for medical purposes.
The current bill has expanded this list to include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, and other severe conditions. Apart from that, the initiative requires testing laboratories and research organizations to advance the existing body of knowledge in this field. Overall, the main goal of the document is to address the health needs of people requiring marijuana to relieve the manifestations of their illness as well as the implications of growing marijuana for medical purposes.
Healthcare and Social Determinants of Health
The bill has a potential to improve as well as to hurt healthcare. On the one hand, people requiring the use of marijuana to help them cope with the negative manifestations of their health status will receive quality care that corresponds to their needs. On the other hand, healthcare institutions will be subjected to reformations to be able to address the implications of SB 8A. In addition, growing medical marijuana can be associated with the recreational use of this substance, which can lead to false representations in people to whom marijuana has not been indicated.
Social determinants of health can also be affected by this bill. In particular, such negative manifestations as unemployment and poverty can determine the way people perceive the use of marijuana and the reasons for growing it. It can also lead to substance abuse. Therefore, the bill has a potential to change the social context for marijuana consumption.
Special Interest Groups and Fiscal Impact
The two special interest groups that will promote the legislation are Marijuana Policy Project and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The parties that are likely to oppose the bill are police unions, alcohol companies, and pharmaceutical corporations. The latter two parties can oppose the bill because it will affect their revenues.
Importantly, no tax or fee issues will be present. The bill will influence both the private and the government sector, which is reasonable. In the first instance, institutions will have to experience increased licensing costs. In addition, laboratories will need to receive additional certification to be able to meet the new standards. In the second instance, governmental institutions may face increased expenditures related to the implementation of the new provisions. However, these costs can be compensated through licensure fees.
Impact on Community
The policy will have a negative, as well as a positive impact on the general community. If the bill is passed, the social norms of recreational and medical marijuana use are likely to be distorted. However, the individuals requiring this form of care will be able to receive it to achieve a positive health status. If the bill died, the perceived risk of use would be likely to increase. It can be assumed that the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration will review and enforce this legislation if it is accepted.
Justification and Concluding Points
It is difficult to state unequivocally whether the bill should pass or not. The consequences of it will be both positive and negative. Theoretically, it should be approved if growing medical marijuana does not result in its popularization and if the substance is used in the conditions specified by healthcare specialists. Overall, if the policy is accepted, a greater degree of responsibility will be placed on the healthcare industry and the population.