The issue of marijuana legalization remains topical in Florida. Despite the recent campaign for marijuana legalization, the current legislation presupposes that the use of medicinal marijuana should be restricted to permitting children with rare types of cancer and epilepsy the use of cannabis that does not trigger drug intoxication (Fletcher, Vittinghoff, Kalhan, 2012). However, the rest of the instances that may require the use of medicinal cannabis, such as treatment of adolescent or adult cancer patients, are not covered by the Florida legislation. Herein the need to update the existing legal standards so that the nursing services of the corresponding quality could be provided lies.
The significance of medicinal cannabis for the wellbeing of cancer patients and patients with terminal diseases cannot possibly be doubted, as marijuana allows for reducing the pain that these patients experience (Widener, 2011). Unfortunately, the introduction of the legal regulations that allow for the use of recreational marijuana in Florida presupposes dealing with a range of problems. First and most obvious, the list of conditions, which require the use of medicinal cannabis, will have to be compiled and approved legally. As a rule the conditions such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and any other terminal disease, are traditionally listed as the ones requiring the use of recreational cannabis (Belendiuk, Baldini, & Bonn-Miller, 2015). However, since there is no single set of diseases for the case in point, arguments concerning the legitimacy of including a particular disease or disorder into the list may be spawned by the ambiguity in question.
Studies show that a range of patients in Florida require the services in question. Particularly, there are currently 114,000 cancer patients in Florida, who may be in need for medicinal cannabis. In fact, Florida has the highest number of cancer patients in 2015 compared to the rest of the United States (Cancer facts and figures 2015, 2015), as Fig. 1 shows; herein the need to introduce the regulation that will recognize their rights lies.
Among the key stakeholders, the patients of Florida, who are in need for the drugs that will provide them with relief from pain, must be mentioned first. As a rule, medicinal marijuana is prescribed for the patients, who suffer from terminal cancer stages, and whose pain cannot be helped with the help of traditional painkillers. Seeing that he adoption of the law allowing for the use of recreational marijuana will affect nurses’ organizational behavior with a set of rigid rules regarding the prescription and distribution of the subject matter among the patients, the Florida nurses will also have to be listed among the stakeholders (Mabhala, 2015). The therapists, who will have to assess the state of their patients and prescribe recreational drug treatment, will also be included in the group of potential stakeholders, as they will be responsible for the possible negative outcomes of the marijuana use by the patients.
The significance of the provision of recreational cannabis to the patients with terminal diseases can hardly be overrated. Since the patients suffering from the above-mentioned disorders are in a constant and unbearable pain, they need the painkillers that will spare them the torturous experience (Romano & Hazekamp, 2013). Seeing that traditional treatment triggers only temporary effects and has a number of side effects, therefore, leading to even harsher health issues, the introduction of the legislation allowing the use of medicinal marijuana is indispensable.
One must admit, though, that the provision of the aforementioned services to patients may be fraught with dire consequences. Unless proper ethical principles are established in the corresponding nursing facilities and the communities in question, both patients and nurses may take advantage of the specified legislation and abuse their rights to prescribe and use recreational marijuana. Seeing that the phenomenon in question can be observed quite often in the states, where medicinal marijuana is allowed, the threat becomes quite tangible for Florida as well: “Prescription misuse evolved into drug-seeking behaviors that ultimately resulted in using multiple providers, fraudulent prescriptions, and drug diversion” (Malliarakis, Smith, & Darbo, 2012).
Nevertheless, the necessity to tend to the needs of patients in the target community is of a huge priority for the Florida nurses. Therefore, the above-mentioned issue will have to be addressed with the help of enhanced security and an increased number of audits so that the patients could be relieved of their pain and that the Florida regulations could be complied with.
The use of recreational cannabis is a rather questionable subject, yet the adoption of the legislation allowing medicinal marijuana must be considered in Florida so that the patients diagnosed with cancer HIV/AIDS and other terminal illnesses should retrieve the services that they require. It should be borne in mind that the adoption of the designated bill may trigger a rapid increase in the instances of medical fraud and drug peddling. Therefore, a harsher control over the marijuana dispensing sites should be established.
Belendiuk, K. A., Baldini, L. L., & Bonn-Miller, M. O. (2015). Narrative review of the safety and efficacy of marijuana for the treatment of commonly state-approved medical and psychiatric disorders. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 10(1), 1–10.
Cancer facts and figures 2015. (2015). Web.
Fletcher, M. J., Vittinghoff, E., Kalhan, R. (2012). Low levels of marijuana smoking do not have a negative effect on pulmonary function. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, 307(2), 173–181.
Mabhala, M. A. (2015). Public health nurse educators’ conceptualisation of public health as a strategy to reduce health inequalities: a qualitative study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14(1), 14-24.
Malliarakis, K. D., Smith, V., & Darbo, N. (2012). Regulatory management of substance use in high-risk nurse populations. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 2(4), 32–39.
Romano, L. L., & Hazekamp, A. (2013). Cannabis oil: chemical evaluation of an upcoming cannabis-based medicine. Cannabinoids, 1(1), 1–11.
Widener, M. N. (2011). Medicinal cannabis entrepreneurs as commercial tenants: Assessment and treatment. Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Journal, 46(2), 377–407.