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If you need medical marijuana, you better not be in a Florida nursing home or ALF

By Samantha Gross, Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Despite an environment where the Florida Legislature is dialed in on the expansion of access to medical marijuana in all of its forms, one of the largest groups who would benefit is being left behind.

After his 88-year-old mother fell and broke her neck six years ago, Bill Crouse knew he needed to do something. For four months his mother was “off the planet” on opiates in a Plantation nursing home. She was depressed, anxious, constipated and “meaner than snot.”

Desperate, Crouse took his mother to see Dr. Michelle Weiner, a Miami pain management physician and medical marijuana expert. By May 2018, Crouse’s mother’s opiates were entirely replaced by marijuana tinctures, which he drops under her tongue or mixes in with applesauce.

Until he moved his mother into a private assisted living facility last year, Crouse had to sneak his mother her three-times-daily doses when no one was around.

“The facilities have the same core problem,” Crouse said. “They have no protocol. They have no set method.”

Fears over losing Medicaid and Medicare funding — because federal law still considers all marijuana use illegal — keep most nursing homes and assisted living facilities pot-free, despite recommendations from doctors to card-holding patients who reside there.

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