medical cannabis FLCAN - James Ray

James Ray of Venice, Fla., talks with Dr. Justin Davis at the Canna-Wellness Challenge, held last year in Melbourne. Davis said at the time, “I’ve had patients die while waiting for medical marijuana. If people are terminally ill, why do they have to wait three months when their cancer can metastasize worse?” During the Legislature’s upcoming session, the Florida Cannabis Action Network will work to eliminate that 90-day waiting period. / Florida Food & Farm file photo

In this video, Florida Cannabis Action Network Executive (FLCAN) Director Jodi James provides a sad example of why her organization wants to change Florida law to include “reciprocity.” Women Grow — South Florida hosted her for an event, “It’s the Legislature, Stupid!”

In this video, Florida Cannabis Action Network Executive (FLCAN) Director Jodi James provides a sad example of why her organization wants to change Florida law to include “reciprocity.” Women Grow — South Florida hosted her for an event, “It’s the Legislature, Stupid!”


The executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network (FLCAN), on Jan. 5, outlined her organization’s goals for the upcoming legislative session. One of the main goals is to to change Florida law to include “reciprocity.”

Jodi James said another top priority is eliminating the 90-day waiting period for full-strength cannabis, which terminal patients are allowed to take.

“I just can’t imagine that you could be diagnosed with something, and the doctor said ‘I have the cure. You can have it in 90 days.’ Good luck with that,” she told the group of about 30 attending the event, titled “It’s the Legislature, Stupid!”

Under current law, a patient with less than a year to live is entitled to full-strength cannabis. Yet he or she must wait 90 days — after first seeing a physician qualified to recommend the medication — before receiving it.

Women Grow — South Florida sponsored the event, held at the N2 Wine Bar in downtown Delray Beach.

Medical cannabis will be a hot topic

The regular session of the state Legislature begins March 7. Among the more contentious topics will likely be proposed laws regarding medical cannabis. Florida voters approved Amendment 2 — the so-called “Medical-Marijuana Amendment” — on Nov. 8; 71 percent voted for the measure.

The Legislature now must enact laws regarding implementation of the amendment. In addition, the state Department of Health is charged with drafting regulations governing the new constitutional amendment, which took effect Jan. 3.

FLCAN also wants “reciprocity”

Another part of the law that FLCAN wants to change is lack of “reciprocity.” Florida does not allow a patient — even if he or she is entitled to receive medical cannabis in another state — to obtain it here.

“I think this issue is huge,” James said. “If you’re a part-time resident in Florida, and Michigan is your home state, are you expected to forego your medicine for six months out of the year?”

Her organization frequently receives calls from residents who live only part of the year in the Sunshine State.

“I have people who come in from Montana, and they’re driving in in their RV that’s registered in Montana. They’re on the Montana medical-marijuana program. They ask ‘What do you mean — the medicine I’m consuming in my home is illegal?’”, James said.

In this video, James explains why the number of patients on the state medical-cannabis registry must increase greatly if the seven nurseries licensed to grow and dispense the medication are to remain in business. She then exhorted attendees to encourage anyone who might qualify for medical cannabis to see a physician.

FLCAN’s other legislative priorities include:

  • expand the list of qualifying conditions beyond the existing laws and Amendment 2;
  • remove the current 45-day reassessment period. (A physician must see a patient every 45 days for re-evaluation. “So, every 45 days, patients have to pay out more money,” James noted.)
  • ensure that children receive science-based education about the harms and benefits of cannabis;
  • allow personal cultivation for qualified patients.

Another consideration, said Candice Marschke, founder and now chairwoman of Women Grow — South Florida, is ensuring quality control: “Patients need good product and clean product.”

Those in the medical-cannabis industry also need good employees, according to Scott Keeler, who owns Oakland, Calif.-based Origin Therapeutics and attended the event. “You have to have the right people, but finding them is hard.”

For more information about Women Grow, visit womengrow.com. For info about the Florida Cannabis Action Network, visit flcan.net.