Medical Marijuana Conference in Palm Beach County Kicks Off Thursday

Even after the drive to get medical marijuana legalized in Florida fell short by two percentage points in voting, there still remains a strong backing by many Floridians for medicinal weed to be made legal. But while groups like United for Care are pushing to get medical marijuana back on the ballot in 2016, it's still very much illegal to possess it, grow it, and sell it — even while some still think there are exceptions

Yet that's not stopping medical marijuana advocates and experts from hitting up Palm Beach County this week to discuss medicinal cannabis and its many benefits.  

The ninth-annual Clinic Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics is scheduled to begin Thursday and run through Saturday and will feature experts such as Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School; Professor of Chemistry Endowed Chair
Hebrew University Dr. Lionel Jacobsen; and Andrew Weil, founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, among others. Former pro athletes and Iraq and Vietnam veterans are also slated to speak at the three-day convention.

The conference is open to all health-care professionals, caregivers, and anyone else interested in medical marijuana and its benefits.

The conference, which will be happening at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, located at 650 Okeechobee Blvd., is being presented by a nonprofit group from Virginia called Patients Out of Time.

The group's focus is on the education of medical professionals, organizations, and us — the general public — about the therapeutic value of medical marijuana.

The conference will also feature Garyn Angel, CEO of MagicalButter, who was named to CNBC's Next List — a collection of leaders and innovators. Angel is known for creating a product that allows medical marijuana patients to make their own edibles from home.

As the bid for the White House in 2016 starts to intensify, so is the medical marijuana issue. The main reason the initiative to have it legalized fell short last November was because voter turnout was poor.

The second bid at getting some form of medical marijuana legalized was cut down after the Florida Legislative session abruptly ended three days early.

A couple of medical marijuana bills had been introduced in the current session, including HB 683, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, that called for a nonsmokable form of medical marijuana that would have been prescribed to patients suffering from cancer, HIV, AIDS, ALS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, or a terminal illness.

In late January, Sen. Jeff Brandes introduced the Florida Medical Marijuana Act, which would have authorized a doctor to use medicinal marijuana to treat patients afflicted with similar diseases. Brandes had also introduced a bill with Sen. Bob Bradley that would have helped patients with debilitating diseases get quicker access to a form of medical marijuana that was low in THC.

Medical marijuana advocates believe that won't be the case come November 2016, when more people come out to the polls to cast their votes for president of the United States.

"2016 promises greater turnout, more time to explain what the amendment does and doesn't do, and a head start of almost 3.4 million supporters," United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara wrote in an email the day after Amendment 2 was shot down at the polls. "We are going to pass a medical marijuana law in Florida by the end of 2016. It will happen one of two ways: legislative action or another constitutional amendment."

Anyone interested in getting more into about attending the conference can go here.