Medical marijuana: A Catch-22 for Florida residents, researchers

Ask nearly any scientist in Florida who wants to conduct clinical research on cannabis, and expect to hear echoes of a similar strain: The status of medical marijuana in the Sunshine State is currently hazy — ask again later. 

But for thousands of chronically ill patients who rely on the relief they insist cannabis provides, waiting on science is not an option when quality of life is at stake.

Dr. Karen Forsythe Monroe, a Pinellas County physician who is licensed to recommend medical cannabis to qualified adults in Florida, maintains morning hours at her St. Pete office. She spends her afternoons making home visits with patients who are housebound by chronic illness or pain.

“I look at the patient, and I ask: Are they really suffering? … They’re old and they’re sick. That’s what I’m seeing. The people who are coming to me — they don’t want to get high. They just want their

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