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What is the state of medical marijuana legalization in Florida?

A number of studies have come out in the last few years that have supported the use of marijuana for medical uses. From seizures to glaucoma, medical marijuana is slowly gaining popularity in a number of states. But will it become a reality here in Florida? If Sen. Jeff Brandes gets his way it could.

As our Melbourne readers may remember, Brandes filed the Florida Medical Marijuana Act earlier this year, a legislative measure that would allow physicians in our state to prescribe medical marijuana to qualified patients, including the elderly. At this time, the bill remains on the table though and it is unsure when it will garner the attention of the state legislature and come to a vote.

Legalizing medical marijuana could mean a lot to our state's aging population as it could mean relief from health conditions that cause debilitating pain like arthritis or treatments that cause nausea like chemotherapy.

It's important to point out to our Florida readers that even if our state legalizes medical marijuana, Medicaid may not cover the cost of it, even if it is prescribed by a doctor. That's because medical marijuana has still not been legalized by the federal government, meaning it cannot use federal benefits to cover the cost of the drug.

Because elderly residents cannot rely on Medicaid to pick up the tab for the cost of medical marijuana prescriptions, you will need to make sure that your financial and medical plans includes a way to cover this out-of-pocket expense. This could even impact the health care decisions an individual makes as well, which is why discussing your plans and finances with a skilled estate planning attorney may be a good idea.

Sources: The Huffington Post, "Florida Republican Aims To Legalize Medical Marijuana," Matt Ferner, Jan. 26, 2015

The Florida Senate, "SB 528: Medical Use of Marijuana," Accessed April 22, 2015, "Limitations on Services, 12.a. Prescribed Durgs," Access April 22, 2015

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