In 2016, Floridians overwhelmingly voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana. At least 60 percent of voters had to cast a ballot in favor of the amendment, and that happened. But in 2017, Gov. Rick Scott – now a Florida senator – signed a law that banned marijuana smoking in all forms.
That ban was overturned when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to repeal it.
Shortly after DeSantis took office in January, he called on the Florida legislature to send a bill to his desk that would legalize medical marijuana by March 15. That happened. It’s now legal in Florida to obtain a medical marijuana card.
There are plenty of doctors to choose from and for the most part, they’re pricey. Several of our friends got their cards, so we asked for the names of the doctors they used. The services ranged from $99 a visit to $249. In addition to the doctor’s visit, the state card costs $77. I chose the doc who charged $99, who was about 12 miles south of our house.
I was early for my appointment and had to fill out a 14-page history on myself. One of the sections included why I thought I would benefit from medical marijuana. I cited an arthritic ankle, which had been sprained many times over the years. The orthopedic doc I’d seen several weeks earlier diagnosed it as osteoarthritis and didn’t understand how I was still able to walk. He scheduled me for an MRI because the X-ray didn’t show enough detail. It turned out my health insurance didn’t cover the particular facility he recommended. I looked for an alternative and ended up in Dr. Wolff’s office on Halloween, the day that Mercury turned retrograde.
“So what other stuff do you have besides your ankle?” he asked.
“Anxiety about trump.”
He laughed. “Yeah, me, too.” He proceeded to tell me about his wife’s experience with a trumper during the test that led up to her open heart surgery.
Once he approved me for basically everything, he explained I would receive an email confirmation about my eligibility in about two weeks and could use that to go to a dispensary. He also advised that I should try the various hybrid products that had both THC and CBD.
My email arrived on November 14. What I learned is simple: medical marijuana is now a booming business. From the local doc to the state card to the number of business dispensaries, weed sells. The business is lucrative. And legal.
Card holders are permitted 2.5 ounces of weed – now termed flower – a month. That’s more than a pound a year, enough to last me a decade. But more importantly are the products offered by these dispensaries. At a dispensary here in Wellington, I bought something called pain relief cream, which is 1:1 THC/CBD. This stuff is amazing, better than Advil, better than anything prescribed by the orthopedic guy who originally saw me. It cost $65 for a 1.7 ounce tube as opposed to the orthopod’s prescription for $100, which didn’t do much.
I returned to the dispensary a week later to see what else they had for pain relief and got a product with a stronger dosage, 250 mg of THC, 25 of CBD. The young man who waited on me informed me I had over 13,000 milligrams left of pain relief gel products. Yes, the state restricts the topical stuff too. But here’s the thing.
When I wake in the morning, my ankle feels fine, swelling is minimal. As I move around through my day, it swells but discomfort is an afterthought. At the gym, I barely notice anything. Today when I went to the dispensary the place was jammed. Yes, some of these people may have been there just to get weed, but so what? Marijuana is not heroine, not cocaine, not oxycontin. It’s what the hippies knew way back when the Vietnam War was raging and the Beatles were still alive. It’s the high that pushes you into the groove of no pain, no discomfort, no hostility, no negatives, just embrace joy.
And hey, my ankle is doing fine!
But here’s an irony. My hairdresser, Angie, told me about a Colombian product sold on Amazon, a homeopathic remedy for inflamation that’s made from marigolds, It’s called Dololed, costs $24 on Amazon, and it essentially has cured my ankle. Inflammation is way down, I can walk normally. And the medical weed card has nothing to do with this.