June 2018 - Volume 14 - Issue 12 | Thursday June 21, 2018

Legalization of Medical Marijuana and the Medical Profession’s Duty to “Do No Harm”

Physicians in the United States of America take the Hippocratic Oath which is often erroneously credited with containing the phrase “Do No Harm”, however this phrase is accepted as a foundational principle of the medical profession. The legalization of Medical Marijuana is an extremely controversial topic as to whether it is harmful and addictive or is it a natural healer and comforter.

The Supporters
Three of the most well-known organizations in the advocacy of the health benefits of Cannabis and byproducts are Patients Out of Time which was the first organization in the United States to offer CME’s to doctors and nurses on medical cannabis, Marijuana Policy Project, and NORML. NORML has chapters across the country, partners with other organizations, and hosts gatherings with like-minded supporters. I serve as General Counsel for two Advocacy organizations which are also in support of legalization. First, Patience with Patients is led by Melanie Grant a long time Sickle Cell disease educator. Patience with Patients supports people with debilitating and chronic diseases battling stigma as they try to navigate the complex hospital systems in their attempts to get care for their illness. Next, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana is an organization that promotes equal access to careers and business opportunities in the Cannabis industry for geographic, ethnic, and business size diverse professionals. Minorites 4 Medical Marijuana is lead by Chair Erik Range and Rosalind McCarthy. These organizations provide helpful resources on the benefits of legalizing Medical Marijuana and how you can get involved in promoting legalization.
Medical Marijuana Industry Careers and Business Opportunities
When people think about the Medical Marijuana Industry, they automatically think about the dispensaries. Marijuana dispensaries are extremely lucrative business opportunities, however, they are also extremely costly to get started and require expertise in governmental compliance. The average person does not have the resources needed to file the zoning applications, renovate the business space, hire attorneys and consultants to submit the application to the State and hire staff, security, and scientists. However, there are other “ancillary” business opportunities in the Cannabis Industry. In my Cannabis Law Practice, my clients tend to be vendors to dispensaries or medical practitioners. Here is a summary of some business opportunities for individuals that lack the capital to invest in a dispensary:
• Physicians (M.D.’s and D.O.’s)
• Chemists
• Security
• Tracking services
• E-Wallet solution providers
• Independent testing labs
• Secure Transportation companies
• Creators of Salves and Lotions
• Creators of Pet products containing CBD’s
• Creators of Edible products
• Membership Organizations
• Journalists covering industry growth
• Compliance Consultants
• Attorneys
• Local Government Consultants on Ordinances
• Curriculum design experts for CME’s and CLE’s
• Inventors of delivery devices
• Architects and General Contractors
It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list. I work with my clients and determine how they can best match their existing skillset to the needs of the industry and build a business model from there.
The Anticipated Future
It is estimated that the Cannabis industry will be a Fifty (50) billion dollar industry in 20 years. States such as Colorado have generated so much revenue that they are able to use this money to eradicate its homeless problem. Florida is expected to be one of the largest Cannabis markets in upcoming years. As far as the medical profession, we are seeing Physicians open “Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers” across the State . Under current law, patients are required to have a medical relationship with a physician for at least 90 days before receiving a referral for Marijuana. Regulate Florida, an advocacy organization run by Attorney Michael Minardi, Esq. and activist Karen Goldstein, has a petition being circulated that would require Marijuana to be regulated like alcohol. Also, many advocates believe that the ability to refer should be expanded beyond physicians to Nurse Practitioners in order to give more access to patients in need across economic backgrounds. We can expect to see CBD’s and Cannabinoids in more of our household products, lotions, dog food, and even vitamins in the future depending on what happens with Federal and State Laws.
In closing, we can all agree that Medical Marijuana is a very lucrative prospect for citizens as well as the government. Regardless of where you stand on the controversy around the health benefits and potential harms, there is definitely a need for further research on how Medical Marijuana can help patients with Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and other disorders.

Scheril Murray Powell, Associate at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Wachs, and Adair LLP, General Counsel at Patience with Patients, and General Counsel at Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, can be reached at smpesquire@outlook.com or (561) 929-4678.

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