PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - On Jan. 3, Amendment 2 will go into effect in Florida, broadening the scope of who can use medical marijuana.
Since Election Day when Amendment 2 was passed, around 150 doctors have gone through the training and registration process required to prescribe the drug.
Currently, the Florida Department of Health lists 28 doctors in Palm Beach County who have registered and 15 more on the Treasure Coast.
Dr. Mohammad Javed, who practices internal medicine in Greenacres is one of them. He is a primary and urgent care physician. Javed believes medical marijuana could help curb Florida's issues with substance abuse.
"It's much better than people getting addicted to narcotic drugs," Javed says.
The doctor says he's seen too many patients with chronic pain develop those addictions and even sometimes eventually turn to heroin.
"They keep taking tons of medications and nothing works," he says, "And then they start abusing."
Javed finished his training to be able to prescribe medical marijuana earlier in December.
He says after the new law goes into effect Jan. 3, he'll be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions like migraines, chronic nausea, glaucoma and even bipolar disorder.
Before, doctors could only prescribe low doses of THC to patients suffering from a small number of certain conditions or who were terminally ill.
Javed says medical marijuana will still be treated as a last resort, however. He says he can't just treat patients who walk in to his office for urgent care. He and other doctors must have an established relationship with a patient for at least three months and have tried a number of other treatments first.
"If you know your patient, and you have been treating them, following them, for three months and they have no quality life, nothing else is working, then you can prescribe them safely," Javed says.
Lawmakers hope to finalize all rules and regulations for medical marijuana by Sept. 9.
List of doctors who can prescribe marijuana in Florida (list updated every Friday, according to state): http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use/_documents/completed-cme.pdf