By Jacksonville Free Press
While the movement to legalize marijuana has been successful in several states, the effort has stalled in Florida’s Republican-led legislature. According to the Business Journal “Those looking for recreational marijuana to be legalized in Florida during the 2019 Legislative session will have to wait.”
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s (D-Orlando) is the sponsor of House Bill 1117, which has companion Senate Bill 1780 that would make marijuana legal in the state. However, the bills haven’t seen the light of day and have basically stalled in committees not receiving any hearings.
With the issue of legal marijuana or “Hemp” at the forefront of the political landscape, a symposium was held last week to strategize and educate all stakeholders and interested parties. Marijuana experts, farmers, doctors, and distributors attended the Hemp Education Career Symposium and Forum held this weekend at the Doubletree Hotel at the Airport.
Hundreds of individuals watched a video presentation detailing the effects of marijuana on medically challenged patients and children and the products currently on the market and available at local marijuana dispensaries. Panelist included Doctor Terle Newton, Pharmacist Albert Chester and hemp advocates Joe Mack, Jermyn Shannon and Mental Health Counselor Stephanie Jones.
“This forum is an important for pharmacist and the community. Pharmacies are regulated, but I do see future distribution through pharmacies. I’m also here to listen and learn,” said Dr. Chester. Florida Urban Famer, Lance Lucket stated, “We’ve had our farm since slavery. We are in the process of learning the farming side of the Cannabinoid business and our youngest son is also interested in helping with farm.”
He added, “We are staying faithful to the land that has stayed faithful to us to grow new crops and be open to expansion ideas and efforts.”
Panelist and anesthesiologist, Dr. Terel Newton specializes in cannabis pain management medicine. His twenty-four page presentation analyzed the step by step process on how to obtain a medical marijuana card, cannabis usage for the body and changing patient’s mindsets to accept the role marijuana will play in the medical realm to care for patients in hospital or in home care.
Information was also available for farmers detailing opportunities to lease land to grow crops and info on hemp industry regulations and next steps. According to the Southeast Famers Hemp Association, “The non-psychoactive component of marijuana is the latest craze in alternative medicine. Even Walgreens and CVS plan to sell CBD products.”
This article originally appeared in the Jacksonville Free Press.