Florida state Sen. Janet Cruz and Rep. Adam Hattersley, both Democrats, have introduced companion bills to waive the cost of medical cannabis card registration, replacement, and renewals for Florida veterans.
Looking to other states with similar exemptions, the new bill proposed for the 2020 legislative session will waive the $75 card registration/renewal fee and the $15 for a lost card. Rep. Hattersley, a Navy veteran who served a tour in Iraq, said he has seen firsthand the physical and mental cost of military service.
“It’s not a huge burden, but any small thing that we can do to help veterans get the treatment they deserve, I think we need to do,” Hattersley told WUSF News.
“Providing free medical marijuana cards for service-disabled veterans is a benefit that I hope will encourage alternative treatments methods and help address the opioids crisis facing veterans.” — Sen. Cruz, in a statement
Medical cannabis advocates say cannabis can help with the myriad issues that veterans face, including PTSD and physical pain. Often, veterans rely on harmful pharmaceuticals to treat their conditions — cannabis, however, is a non-habit forming and safer alternative to opiates and other pharmaceuticals, advocates contend. Unfortunately, the VA does not currently allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis, so the costs for obtaining a card each year fall on veterans themselves.