BY TWB \n [Orlando, FL] Minorities for Medical Marijuana(M4MM) hosted its first medical marijuana public policy update meeting last Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Information was shared with membership about the future strategic plan for the organization. Florida’s voters showed their support by overwhelmingly passing Amendment 2 during the November general election. \n “Consequently, our organization is now focused on representing the interests, concerns, and views of minority business owners, entrepreneurs, patients, and stakeholders as our lawmakers begin the huge task of drafting the language to the law,” stated Roz McCarthy, Founder/President. M4MM Leadership attended the Senate Health Policy \n Committee Amendment 2 Implementation Public Forum meeting a couple of weeks ago, in Tallahassee. It was clear that the interests of our members and supporters have not been shared and addressed with the Senators who sit on this committee. Consequently, M4MM has created a public policy position statement which specifically outlines points we advocate including in the new law. Specifically, we believe the current Medical Marijuana Treatment Center “MMTC” licensing model is very restrictive, arbitrary, and does not allow for fair and open competition for the various level of business services needed to support this new industry. Furthermore, we are very concerned about healthcare access and equity for all constituents. The following points below are highlighted in our public policy position statement. \n \n M4MM recommends implementing a business classification system which will support fair, open, and impartial competition for various cannabis licenses. We do not support the current vertical integration business model. It’s very limiting in scope and supports a monopoly like business environment which will encourage exclusivity, limited access, and higher prices. \n M4MM recommends the State of Florida hire a Diversity Consultant requiring the State of Florida to actively seek to achieve racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in the Medical Marijuana industry. The diversity advisory consultant would work closely with the DOH’s Compassionate Care Office andlicensing authorities advising on the development of standards and regulations including best practices and guidelines that supports overall diversity and access to care for all. \n M4MM recommends removing the current requirement of 90 day patient-physician relationship rule. Patient referrals from a primary care physician to a medical marijuana certifying physician should be reasonably permitted. Consequently, the certifying physician’s professional patient assessment, history and physical exam will determine if the patient meets the medical condition and criteria outlined. \n M4MM recommends a 50% reduction in medical marijuana card fees for Florida Medicaid recipients. \n \n If you would like more information about this topic and/or our organization, please contact Roz McCarthy at 407-879-1302 or email at info @minorities4medicalmarijuana.org.