Medical vs. recreational marijuana: How to protect yourself

By Meche’ Leflore

Florida A&M’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Institute (MMERI) recently held “Conversations on Cannabis,” a live virtual forum, to provide the latest information from experts on medical marijuana use and the consequences of unlawful marijuana use in Florida.

MMERI’s objective is to ensure that the voices of Florida’s diverse communities are heard about medical marijuana and the impact that unlawful marijuana has on Florida’s communities of color.

Medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extract to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, and ALS, just to name a few. Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It’s basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it’s taken for medical purposes, according to WebMD.

In the State of Florida, medical marijuana is permitted. An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from any of the above conditions. To qualify, a patient must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida, be entered into the medical marijuana use registry, and obtain a medical marijuana ID card. Possession of 20 grams or less of illegal marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

“Marijuana is illegal in the state of Florida,” Attorney Patricia Dawson said during the forum. “It’s important that the youth in the state know how to protect themselves and know the law.”

College students across the country are frequent users of different drugs, including marijuana. Marijuana is often viewed as a “gateway” drug or “not as bad as other drugs. Monitoring the Future survey data shows an increase in marijuana use in the past 5 years among adults ages 19-22. The survey shows that past-year use of marijuana is similar for college students and their non-college peers at about 43%, representing an approximate 7% five-year increase for college students

“I don’t think marijuana is a bad drug,” Kevin Williams, medical marijuana certified user, said. “For a lot of young people, it’s a way to escape the world around them and just be relaxed.”

Williams was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 7 years old. Now at 25, he is an advocate for the use of medical marijuana and educating young adults on the benefits of smoking legally. As a licensed medical marijuana user, you can legally use the plant to help treat depression and anxiety, which many young people suffer from, and fight against other illnesses you might have.

Though marijuana does have its benefits, Patricia A. Green-Powell, executive director of MMERI, warns students against marijuana if not consumed in a controlled manner.

“If used on a constant basis, you are going to impair your movement vision judgment memory and coordination,” Green-Powell said. “Students need to protect themselves.”

MMERI will host another “Conversation on Cannabis” will be held at the end of October 2020.

held Conversations on Cannabis, a live virtual forum, Monday, Sept. 28, to provide the latest information from experts on medical marijuana use and the consequences of unlawful marijuana use in Florida. MMERI’s objective is to ensure that the voices of Florida’s diverse communities are heard about medical marijuana and the impact that unlawful marijuana has on Florida’s communities of color.

Medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extract to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. These conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, and ALS, just to name a few. Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions. It’s basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it’s taken for medical purposes.

In the State of Florida, medical marijuana is permitted. An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from above conditions. To qualify, a patient must be a permanent or seasonal resident of Florida, be entered into the medical marijuana use registry, and obtain a medical marijuana ID card. Possession of 20 grams or less of illegal marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

“Marijuana is illegal in the state of Florida,” Attorney Patricia Dawson said during the forum. “It’s important that the youth in the state know how to protect themselves and know the law.”

College students across the country are frequent users of different drugs including marijuana. Marijuana is often viewed as a “gateway” drug or “not as bad as other drugs.. Monitoring the Future survey data shows an increase in marijuana use in the past 5 years amongst adults ages 19-22. The survey shows that past-year use of marijuana is similar for college students and their non-college peers at about 43%, representing an approximate 7% five-year increase for college students

“I don’t think marijuana is a bad drug,” Kevin Williams, medical marijuana certified user, said. “For a lot of young people, it’s a way to escape the world around them and just be relaxed.”

Williams was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 7 years old, now at 25, he is advocate for the use medical marijuana and educating young adults on the benefits of smoking legally. Being a licensed medical marijuana user, you can legally use the plant to help treat depression and anxiety, which many young people suffer from, and fight against other illnesses you might have.

Though marijuana does have its benefits, Patricia A. Green-Powell, executive director of MMERI, warns students against marijuana if not consumed in a controlled manner.

“If used on a constant basis, you are going to impair your movement vision judgment memory and coordination,” Green-Powell said. “Students need to protect themselves.”

MMERI will hold another “Conversations on Cannabis” forum at 7 p.m. Monday, October 26 on Facebook Live. 

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