Pensacola, Florida
Saturday February 23rd 2019


Medical Marijuana Awareness Day

By Shelby Nalepa

Want to learn more about medical marijuana and its benefits? Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida (MMTCFL) and the online resource Marijuana Med Today will be co-sponsoring an event at Skopelos Monday, Aug. 7 aimed at answering some of the main questions the public has about medical marijuana.

These free one-day seminars will help Florida residents around the state have a better understanding of both the law and the treatments available for medical cannabis in a more personal setting.

President of Marijuana Med Today and medical marijuana health coach Marc Matoza said that MMTCFL currently has locations in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg, The Villages, Jacksonville Beach, Aventura, Kendall and now Pensacola, with an office just opening up on Scenic Highway.

“Our goal is simple, to allow Floridians to learn about medical marijuana from accredited, curated speakers which includes medical doctors, practitioners, medical cannabis experts and users,” Matoza said. “Attendees will learn the facts about medical marijuana and get their questions answered. The seminar will also debunk many of the false information that’s often spread.”

MMTCFL came into existence in 2016 following the legalization of medical marijuana for qualifying conditions in Florida. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Dorn had just finished his twelfth year of working in hospice care for terminally ill patients, rounding out more than 30 years of practicing traditional medicine, and his experience told him that it was time to be part of a change.

In the past, many patients suffering from painful and debilitating conditions faced treatment by often-addicting or ineffective medication, with no option to first try a natural solution such as medical cannabis for pain management and treatment. MMTCFL’s goal is to connect patients with medical marijuana treatments.

Matoza said that to date, all the medical marijuana conferences in Florida have been for industry insiders only.

“Floridians have heard about medical marijuana,” he said. “Since most research has been done overseas, it is hard for Floridians to get the facts and this conference presents the facts.”

Event speakers include Matoza, medical doctors Dr. Joseph Dorn and Dr. Michelle Beasley, practitioners Turner Davis and Cameron Vance, mental health professional Josephine Krehl as well as a panel of four medical marijuana users to discuss their experiences.

Dr. Michelle Beasley is the first medical doctor in Pensacola to accept new patients for treatment with medical marijuana. Currently, she is most commonly treating patients with cancer, muscle spasms, and seizures, but is qualified and specially trained to work with patients with other conditions.

Dr. Beasley has a background as a practicing pediatrician and has brought her previous medical marijuana practice under the MMTC umbrella and now oversees the Pensacola location.

Matoza said that there are several misconceptions of medical marijuana.

“Cannabis/marijuana is a food, not a drug,” he said. “Also, cannabis has been used as a treatment for various medical conditions for centuries, and up until 1937 it was the primary remedy recommended by the American Medical Association.”

Matoza also said that there has been extensive medical research on medical marijuana and that the U.S. Government currently holds a patent on it.

“The U.S. National Institute of Health research database has over 25,000 articles, and the U.S. government has been funding medical marijuana research since 1964 in Israel,” he said.

Florida requires medical marijuana be prescribed by a medical doctor.

“MMTCFL determines if a patient qualifies under Florida law,” Matoza said. “If so, they help the patient get a Florida Compassionate Care Card as well as provide the prescriptions to the Florida State Registry.”

Medical marijuana can be used to treat a number of illnesses and conditions. According to Marijuana Med Today, it can be used to treat PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, nausea, stress, AIDS, insomnia, lack of appetite, brain trauma, Alzheimer’s, depression, mood disorders, concussion, cancer, glaucoma, sleep disorders, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, autism, epileptic seizures, inflammation and PETS.

“Cannabis is a natural food product, not a drug and its main components are CBD and THC,” Matoza said. “CBD provides the medicinal benefits of the cannabis but does not produce the ‘high’ effect so is safe to be used by children for example. THC has medical benefits for head, cancer and concussion conditions. It can get a person ‘high,’ however, medical marijuana limits that effect, focusing on providing natural remedies to address a medical condition.”

Matoza said that this is where medical and recreational marijuana differ because medical marijuana limits the high effect.

“Also, Cannabis, like all foods, treat the entire body, not just one symptom or component,” Matoza said. “And all the Cannabis medical properties work together and combined have additional effects. This is called the Entourage Effect. Pharma products do not have this property.”

Based on the current State Compassionate Care Registry, there are five doctors who prescribe medical marijuana locally in Pensacola.

Matoza said that it isn’t difficult to get approved for medical marijuana treatment.

“However, it is new, and the state has put a few strange twists in the process,” he said. “We will have a session on demystifying the process in the conference and provide information on how to get a Compassionate Care card.”

As of press time, the 9 a.m. session is sold out, so MMTCFL added a second evening session at 5 p.m. They also have plans to host another event in next few months, so if you miss this one stay tuned.

Presentations from Sutterra Wellness and Knox dispensaries will also be included in the event.

WHAT: Educational seminar sponsored by MMTCFL and Marijuana Med Today
WHEN: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 7
WHERE: Skopelos, 600 S. Palafox
COST: Free
DETAILS: Register at, and or call 844-682-8261