Florida doctors have a lot of discretion when prescribing medical marijuana


Nearly two years after Florida leaders passed the state’s medical marijuana law, there are nearly 175,000 eligible patients.

A local doctor told Action News Jax that there is still “widespread confusion” among physicians as to when and how much to prescribe.

“They’re asking, is this a legal diagnosis? Can I use this one?” said Dr. Harold Laski, who founded the Medical Marijuana Society.

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Under state law, qualifying conditions like cancer, epilepsy, and PTSD are cut and dry.

But patients could also fall under more vague conditions, like “medical conditions of the same kind or class (as the state’s already listed conditions),” or “chronic non-malignant pain.”

Under this umbrella, Dr. Laski says his fellow medical marijuana physicians are left to decide case-by-case.

“Our main goal is to do a service for the patients,” said Dr. Laski. “This doesn’t do a service when we can’t determine what’s right and what’s wrong.”

According to a report from the state, the top qualifying condition for medical marijuana was “chronic non-malignant pain” with 48,259 patients.

“Medical conditions of the same kind or class…” (as listed conditions like Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, etc.) was next with 47,527 patients.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was third with 41,143 patients.

All of the numbers are from January 1st to September 30th, 2018.

Michelle Teska, a medical marijuana patient, says she doesn’t feel like the open interpretation of the law will lead to abuse. She turned to medical marijuana for her pain, after being hooked on pain killers following a bad crash.

“It keeps me level,” she said. “It’s like I have a new lease on life.”