The sunshine state is the first southern state to allow medical marijuana and vaping has been pivotal
Many people used to think about medical cannabis as little more than an excuse for stoners to get high. But after over 20 years of medical marijuana laws in the US, we can say with plenty of certainty that cannabis serves many legitimate medical purposes. Despite the extreme growth of the industry along with its public acceptance, the federal government still drags their feet in regards to making it legal everywhere. As a result, many parts of the country are still woefully behind the times, and people are suffering because of it.
For example, the south has traditionally been very restrictive of controlled substances, with marijuana, in particular, being viewed as similar to much harder drugs. So while much of the rest of the country has passed medical marijuana, and even recreational use laws, very few of the southern states have allowed cannabis to be used to its full potential. That was until Florida voted to allow full strength medical marijuana starting last year. But a late addition to the law has caused some controversy, but ultimately in a way that benefits the vaping industry at large.
Battles Over Type Of Consumption
While Florida initially voted to allow medical marijuana in 2016, it wasn’t until last summer that the framework for the new laws came into being. The state senate and house both passed a bill that allowed vaping and edible based medical marijuana, but restricted smoking the dry herb. This provision was challenged and ultimately overturned as the original proposal only mentioned restricting smoking in public places. Regardless, the majority of health officials in the state are still advocating that their patients opt for vaping over smoking.
A similar battle took place in Pennsylvania earlier this year. Penn is one of the latest states to allow medical marijuana, but originally their laws only allowed for oil or pill based cannabis. After a long campaign from different advocacy groups, the legislature decided to expand the law to allow the dry herb form of marijuana. The only catch was that to get dry herbs patients had to agree to only vape it. It’s been clear from the early statistics that this regulatory shift has had a positive impact on the vaping industry across the state. Vaping advocates in Florida are hoping for a similar boon despite the defeat of the smoking ban.
The Case For Vaping
When you take a look at the peer-reviewed evidence in favor of vaping, it’s not hard to see why so many are excited about the prospect. While there isn’t much evidence comparing the danger of smoking weed vs. vaping it, there is a growing pile of research into the vaping vs. smoking cigarettes. Since as far back as 2015, there’s been strong evidence that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, thanks to Public Health England. That harm reduction case was made much stronger late last year when a study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences concluded that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a vaper. Excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) is a measure of an individual’s risk of developing cancer not pertaining to their genetics.
It’s not just the harm reduction value that vaping offers either. Studies have shown that not only is vaping a useful smoking cessation tool but it’s actually more likely to lead to success than anything else. We also have plenty of reason to believe that the idea of vaping as a gateway to smoking is a myth. A study of over 60,000 teens indicated that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens would ever pick up vaping regularly. That means even fewer than that are eventually turning to traditional cigarettes to get their fix.
Medical marijuana has the chance to be a total game changer for millions of people across the country. That being said, it needs to be utilized appropriately and supported with the right tools. Vaping is uniquely positioned to offer a reduced harm alternative to smoking marijuana, without taking away most of the satisfying psychological cues. If we genuinely care about improving the lives of others, we should be doing all we can to understand the benefits of vaping marijuana fully. Unfortunately, that majority of the mainstream media is content spreading misinformation for a quick buck. That’s why it’s so crucial for us to spread the real facts on vaping to our peers and loved ones. After all, understanding how much vaping has to offer is the first step to making a switch.
Are you surprised that Florida passed medical marijuana laws? Why do you think the south has taken so much longer to get on board? How can we best spread the positive information about 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.