On Friday, the 25th of May, Judge Karen Gievers ruled that Florida medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to whole, smokable flower. She ruled that the clear intent of the recent constitutional amendment was to give patients a right to consume cannabis, including vaping and smoking whole herb.
I personally don’t have the legal/political insight to know if this decision will survive the appeal that the Rick Scott administration immediately filed to try to overturn this judges ruling.
If the ruling stands, it will be good for the medical marijuana system in Florida. There are many people who qualify for a patient card, but they choose to stay with the underground market because the approved system. Access to whole flower is an incentive that will encourage some of these people to enter a regulated market market that is safer.
Access to whole flower has benefits that most people have not considered: a possibility to use the raw, carboxylic acid forms of CBD and THC known as CBDA and THCA. Most of the cannabinoids in dried flower are in the carboxylic acid form, but the manufactured products available in Florida are are transformed or ‘decarboxylated.’
Some people think that THCA is inactive, while THC is the active form. This is not true. Both are biologically active, they simply have different activities. THC is good if the objective is pain control or euphoria. But THCA is of great value to people who have inflammation or autoimmune conditions. People know about the anti-anxiety properties of CBD, but raw CBDA is much stronger for treating certain types of anxiety.
If we had a perfect marketplace, there would be products from the MMTCs that were based on raw cannabinoids. But Florida has a stunted, distorted market… government intervention limits the number of players and discourages innovation.
From a health standpoint, vaping and oil and capsules ARE generally better than smoking. There is real evidence that smoking cannabis is not nearly as bad for the lungs as smoking tobacco, but at a minimum, it is associated with chronic bronchitis. But I personally don’t believe that Florida should be a nanny state that tries to control every aspect of people’s lives – I am convinced that absolute prohibition of smoking will be less effective than persuasion. Education is the best way to change peoples behavior. Since we can show that vaping whole flower can be shown to be more economical (less destruction of cannabinoids, so a gram goes farther) and since the aesthetic experience of whole herb vaping is better (less stinky smoke) and since there might be somewhat less risk, then we should be able to persuade people that this is generally a better way to go. If some people believe that they are better off smoking than consuming in other forms, I am not going to go beyond presenting an alternative opinion to them.