My incredible wife of 31 years has Stage 4 Colorectal cancer. When Suzy was diagnosed in 2018, she was given only 24 months or less to live. Thankfully, she is beating the odds through aggressive treatment and medication.
One of these life-saving medications is cannabis.
I am far from a natural activist, but my wife’s health journey has forced me into that role. After Suzy’s diagnosis, I took six months of time off work to best care for her, and to study the efficacy of various medical treatments, including marijuana. Every doctor or specialist that we have consulted, either here in Southwest Florida or at Mass General (where we had a second opinion done), has recommended cannabis to us for symptom management and for help alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy…because it really works.
Last week, Representative Spencer Roach of Fort Myers argued in the Capitol on behalf of House Bill 1455. If enacted, this Bill would not only be extorting the healthcare needs of over 500,000 Floridians but would also be subverting the will of the People of Florida.
House Bill 1455 in part would limit the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in smokable marijuana to 10% or less; current smokable marijuana THC percentages average around 15-25%. HB 1455 would also further limit the milligrams available to Florida medical marijuana patients to only 15,000 milligrams every 35 days.
My wife takes high-THC RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) capsules every night before bed. She also must undergo Chemotherapy every two weeks for life. The defeat of this Bill is a matter of life and death for not only my wife, but for many cancer patients throughout Florida.
Now, let’s be perfectly clear. This is not a political or partisan issue. This egregious Bill is being fought by legislators and activists across the Aisle, not limited to John Morgan, Matt Gaetz, Monica Barnhart, and Nikki Fried. Cannabis was declared a medicine in our State Constitution in 2016, when more than 71% of voters made their needs known.
Spencer Roach seems to feel as though the will of the People is not as important as his “bottom line”.
Representative Roach claims that this Bill is to prevent a deadly epidemic akin to the opioid crisis, yet when challenged by the Miami Herald, Rep. Roach could provide zero evidence of adverse reactions to high-THC marijuana. That is because medical marijuana is nothing like these dangerous and addictive opioids, which have killed tens of thousands of Floridians…while there is not one recorded fatal marijuana overdose.
Medical cannabis has even been known to help lessen opioid use; chronic pain is the most common reason that patients seek a medical marijuana prescription, and studies have shown that medical marijuana alone may be as effective as opioids for pain relief…all without the high chance of addiction and overdosing that come with these dangerous drugs.
The enacting of HB 1455 would be a lose-lose situation for all involved. Not only would over a half-million Floridians lose access to their needed medications, but taxpayers will be left footing the bill for the various lawsuits this Bill would certainly bring about. HB 1455 is an attempt to stifle the voices and healthcare rights of the People of Florida, and I will do whatever it takes to fight it becoming law.
Representative Roach, medical marijuana is being used to help real people. The voters demanded it, and hard-working doctors and medical professionals are the ones dispensing it. Legislators are not meant to be gatekeepers of necessary medication. I am calling on you to uphold the will of the people.
Scot D. Goldberg, Esq. is a partner in the law firm Goldberg Noone Abraham, LLC in Fort Myers.
Goldberg Noone Abraham, LLC