Patients, dispensaries ready for smokable medical marijuana

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For Kathy Prueitt of Saint Petersburg, life without medical marijuana is literally a headache.

“It helps me considerably with my pain. I don’t know what I’d do without it,” she said. “I suffer severely from chronic migraines.”

Prueitt is one of the thousands of patients across Florida who are excited smokable medical marijuana could soon be legal. On Wednesday, the Florida House overwhelmingly approved a Senate bill, repealing a ban on smokable medical marijuana.

“It’s a blessing. it really is. I can’t wait for them to get it here,” said Prueitt.

However, not everyone is excited. House Speaker Jose Oliva told CBS Miami he’s critical of the measure.

“There’s no medicine that we know of that’s smokable. Controlling the dosage of a medicine in smokable form is not something that can even be done,” said Oliva.

Related: Patients applaud Gov. DeSantis’ call to end state ban on smokeable medical marijuana

However, the move is long overdue for patients in pain and the companies ready to help.

“We’re waiting on the Department of Health to give the go-ahead and we’re prepared, we’re ready, and we just cannot wait. We know how beneficial it is to be able to smoke the plant. We’re very excited, and our patients are as well,” said Jennifer Houghtaling, manager of the Saint Petersburg Trulieve dispensary. “To have all the different cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant and to be able to get the whole plant and all the benefits of it, it’s going to be very helpful for patients.”

According to the bill, prescriptions will last 35 days, and qualified patients are allowed 2.5 ounces of smokable medical marijuana.

“I personally have PTSD, and I honestly don’t like smoking vapes because they’re harsh on my lungs,” said Christopher Llera. “When I smoke flower, it’s not as harsh on my lungs.”

The governor is expected to sign the bill on Friday, but the Department of Health will have to create statewide directives before the treatment is available in dispensaries. 

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