TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Floridians may be able use their cell phones to secure legal permission for marijuana use in 2023. New bills filed in the House (HB 387) on Monday and Senate (SB 344) on Tuesday would allow those seeking certification for medical marijuana to receive the necessary certification via telehealth screenings with a physician. Currently they are required to make in person appointments.
The bill was filed by two Republican legislators: Rep. Spencer Roach, who represents District 76 in the North Fort Myers area and Sen. Jason Brodeur, who represents District 10 in the Sanford area. Co-sponsors of the bi-partisan HB 387 included Rep. Alex Andrade, Rep. Alina Garcia, Rep. Dianne Hart and Rep. Michelle Salzman.
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Jayer Williamson, introduced similar legislation in October 2021 that failed to receive a committee hearing last March.
EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM MARIJUANA USAGE
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 percent of high school seniors reported using marijuana in the past year and over six percent reported using it daily.
The drug has been liberated across the country in recent years in recent years as numerous states have legalized it for medical or recreational use. Although cannabis is considered less addictive and less toxic compared to other legal substances such as alcohol and nicotine, it can have serious side effects.
The NIH also reports that: “When people begin using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Researchers are still studying how long marijuana's effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.
Marijuana can result in permanent IQ loss of as much as eight points when people start using it at a young age, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is also linked to poor mental health and negative athletic performance.