As Florida moves forward with Amendment 2 over the next few months, many patients are going to be wondering whether or not they qualify for medical marijuana and what they can expect as far as becoming a legal recipient of the alternative medicine. Luckily, there is a doctor from Tallahassee who is taking the initiative to open up a medical marijuana clinic, which will help patients find out if they qualify, see them as needed to make a recommendation for medical marijuana and oversee their treatment.
Formerly the medical director of Surterra Therapeutics (one of the six licensed growers and dispensers of medical marijuana in the state), Dr. Joseph Dorn resigned on November 7th because he could not recommend medical cannabis to patients while working for the company as per state law. Instead, Dorn will be opening his own practice, which will be known as the Medical Marijuana Treatment Center of Florida. They will be located on Capital Medical Boulevard in Tallahassee and are expected to open their doors as soon as next week.
“I saw a need where few physicians were interested in being qualified doctors to order this,” Dorn said. “I couldn’t perform that function while being medical director. I decided to go back to direct patient care, that’s my strong point.”
Currently there are 200 physicians who have taken the 8 hour certification required by the Florida Department of Health in order to recommend medical marijuana to patients. However, even with 200 doctors registered throughout the state, just under 1,000 patients are currently registered to receive medical marijuana. This is mostly due to the restrictive nature of the program as it stood prior to the passing of Amendment 2 – however, with the addition of multiple conditions that will qualify for full strength medical cannabis, this is likely to grow once all the regulations are in place.
While it could be September of next year before medical marijuana patient ID cards are issued by the Department of Health, at least there will already be both dispensaries and physicians already in place. Right now, Dorn will have to wait 90 days with every qualifying patient before being able to order them their medicine – though there is hope that this rule will not carry over to the implementation of Amendment 2, which aims to get patients’ access to the alternative medicine as quickly as possible.