Florida is one of the first southern states to approve medical marijuana, but vaping is playing a key role
Twenty years ago, the idea of medical marijuana was seen by the general public as little more than an excuse for stoners to legally get high. Over the past few decades, however, the benefits of medical marijuana have been proven in a variety of cases, and the tide of public opinion has changed to support the idea of medical marijuana’s legalization widely. As a result, there has been massive growth in the industry, with many states choosing to legalize marijuana for medicinal usage. The Federal government has been delaying the country-wide legalization, along with some strongholds against the cause.
A prime example of this is in the South, where frequently marijuana will be viewed as equally harmful to other harder and more detrimental substances. This applies to both the general opinion of the public and the state legislatures. While other states have legalized medical marijuana and some even recreational marijuana use, people in the southern states have not had legal access to this natural treatment. Last year, however, Florida was the first southern state to break the barrier and legalize full strength medicinal marijuana. The controversy that followed was not with the choice to legalize, but rather with a late addition to the law which could directly benefit the vaping industry.
The vote to allow medical marijuana in the state of Florida took place in 2016. Once that decision was made the framework for the new law was worked out, reaching a head last summer. It was at this time that the state senate and house passed a bill which allowed the use of medical marijuana, but only when consumed through edibles and vaping oil. As a result, the law restricted the use of any dry herb marijuana. This provision was challenged by many advocacy groups and overturned, reverting to the original proposal that only held restrictions against smoking in public places. Despite the overturn though, the majority of health officials in the state are advocating that patients choose to vape their prescriptions instead of smoking it as a healthier method of consumption.
Pennsylvania’s state legislatures debated over the same topic earlier this year when they became one of the latest states to pass laws accepting medical marijuana. The rules initially adopted only allowed oil or pill based cannabis to be prescribed and used. Various advocacy groups stepped in, and the legislature expanded the law to also allow for dry herb to be used. However to use dry herb, patients required to vape instead of smoking it. Statistics have shown that this caveat to the legalization of marijuana has been a positive benefit to the vaping industry across Pennsylvania. In the state of Florida vaping advocates are hoping for a similar effect, despite the smoking ban being overturned.
The Case for Vaping
The scientific evidence published is widely in favor of vaping over smoking. While research on tobacco or vaping marijuana is not more prevalent yet, there has been a multitude of studies conducted concerning vaping versus smoking cigarettes, and the results are clear. Back in 2015 Public Health England, the United Kingdom’s equivalent to the FDA published that their studies had found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking. Then just last year, a study was published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found that the excess lifetime cancer risk, or the likeliness of developing cancer beyond one’s own genetic predisposition, is 57,000 times lower for a vaper than a comparable smoker.
While those studies speak to vaping’s harm reduction value, other studies have proven that vaping is the most likely smoking cessation tool to lead to successfully quitting. Others reports have shown that vaping does not function as a gateway to smoking, a rumor spread by the media and anti-vapers. One study that surveyed over 60,000 teenage students found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens take up vaping regularly, which means that even fewer are taking up cigarette smoking.
The prospect of medical marijuana being available has the potential to completely change the lives of millions of people across the country. For that to happen in the healthiest way possible, medicinal marijuana must be supported with the right tools for consumption. Not only is vaping an easy and widely available option, but it’s also one of the healthiest and most effective options for consuming marijuana. The benefits of vaping cannabis give millions the chance to improve their lives. It is essential that the real facts of the matter are spread and learned about, instead of the dramatized falsehoods spread by the media and lobbyists. Once people understand the real benefits of choosing vaping over smoking, then they are more likely to make the right choice.
Do you think Florida will help other states make similar moves? What is taking the south so long to get on board with vaping? What’s the best way to spread positive information on vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.