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Putnam Faces Criticisms for 'Bandwagoning' Over Call for Medical Marijuana Special Session

May 26, 2017 - 6:00am
Adam Putnam and Matt Gaetz
Adam Putnam and Matt Gaetz

Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam says the time is now for Florida to hold a special session on medical marijuana. Earlier this week Putnam added his name to the growing list of lawmakers and politicians who say the issue is too important for lawmakers to let go -- but not everyone is convinced Putnam's motives are pure.


On Tuesday, Putnam took a swipe at state legislators for failing to reach an agreement on the bill to implement Amendment 2 earlier this month, saying they need to come back to Tallahassee and get back to work.
“I think that it’s important for the elected officials to have done their job during the regular session,” Putnam said. “Since they didn’t [do their job] I think that a special session is in order because I think that for a constitutional amendment’s implementation, it’s important for the elected officials to do it not the bureaucrats at the Department of Health.”


Putnam spokeswoman Amanda Bevis told Sunshine State News the change of heart was really Putnam simply recognizing the need for state lawmakers to fulfill their duty to the people of Florida.
“Adam Putnam has consistently opposed the expansion of marijuana use in Florida,” she said. “However, recognizing the will of the voters, Commissioner Putnam asserts it is the responsibility of the Legislature to implement this program.”
Some believes Putnam doesn't have the right motivations on medical marijuana, though, and say the past speaks for itself.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who pushed legislation in the Florida House to legalize a low-THC form of medical cannabis in 2014, criticized the Commissioner for only recently hopping on board the medical marijuana train for his political advantage now that he's all in the governor's race.
Gaetz tweeted that Putnam had no desire to join forces and work together on legalizing medical marijuana just three years ago, questioning whether the commissioner's motivations were pure or just a political tactic.
“As Agriculture commish he had no interest in helping w cannabis reform when I asked,” Gaetz tweeted this week. “Now he's running for gov and is full of opinions #weird.”
In 2014, Putnam was a vocal critic of Amendment 2, urging voters to say no to the measure. Putnam trashed cannabis, calling marijuana a “gateway drug.” 
State legislators worked for months to hammer out legislation to provide relief to thousands of Floridians suffering from debilitating medical conditions, but they were unable to reach an agreement before the legislative session ended May 9.
Legislators haggled over the bill into the late hours before session ended, disagreeing on exactly how many retail facilities medical marijuana treatment centers should be able to open. 
House bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, proposed upping the number to 100 dispensaries, but the Senate said that number was too high.
With no solution in sight, legislators ended up killing off the bill, hanging Floridians waiting for medical marijuana high and dry.
Sources close to the legislative process told Sunshine State News one of the real enemies of passing the legislation ended up being the group which had worked so hard to approve Amendment 2 in the first place: United For Care and its legislative arm, Florida For Care.
Putnam has now joined scores of other politicians who have said lawmakers need to come back to Tallahassee to figure out medical marijuana once and for all.
Several other gubernatorial candidates and potential candidates like Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Orlando attorney John Morgan, who largely spearheaded Amendment 2 both last year and in 2014. 
Other state legislators in leadership positions have also said a special session was necessary.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, said earlier this month he wanted lawmakers to figure out a solution as soon as possible.
“I believe there should be a special session on medical marijuana,” he said.
Lawmakers quickly began responding, saying Corcoran was on the right track in his calls for a special session.
“I agree with @richardcorcoran,” Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, wrote earlier this week. “I support a special session to address medical marijuana implementation.”
Gov. Rick Scott or the legislature can convene a special session, but sources within leadership told SSN a special session was "very likely," though a date has not yet been announced. 




Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen







The United States secretary of health and human services, an MD, has invested in Tobacco and fought not to let the FDA regulate it. Jeff Sessions received so much donation money from Tobacco he had to give some back to keep it legal. Tobacco kills 480,000 people per year. Its extremely evident Cannabis is illegal due to corruption, and not principle. For an FDA law that is invalid, why are our Florida politicians fighting to hard to keep it illegal? probably also corruption. Its time to stand up and end prohibition. Its a complete mockery of the both the constitution and science

THE VOTERS HAVE CLEARLY SPOKEN! The Florida Legislature FAILED to handle this issue in a timely manner. Tallahassee is as big a SWAMP as D.C.! There is no "political motivation" by Putnam other than to make sure that the "Will of the PEOPLE" be addressed (as it should) in a timely manner. Are you LISTENING, Legislators? Or can't you HEAR because of all the SNAKES HISSING in Florida's Capitol? ---> GO BACK TO WORK ~N~O~W~ <---

You question Putnam's motives but you NEVER question a Democrat's motives? Biased much? Much too much. It's like your butt is showing. You're being too obvious, or oblivious. Either one is quite embarrassing.

I'm a Republican in favor of legalization and I question his motives! Just 3 years ago he was 100% oppossed to medical marijuana stating "it's a gateway drug!" and now that it's evident that at least 70% of the state is in favor suddenly he has a change of heart? Yes, I question his motives! I also have no problem voting across party lines if I don't believe in my parties candidate!!! Thank goodness I'm not a single issue voter but Adam Putnam has a lot to prove to earn my vote, and I'm NOT alone! I will add that unfortunately there are a lot of single issue voters in Florida now days and marijuana is on the top of their list. It's not on the top of my list but it absolutely will influence my vote. #legalizeit

A special session should not have been necessary. Lawmakers failed to do their jobs and now want taxpayers to pay for them to fail.... again. Only a full and fair implementation of A2 is acceptable. Allow Doctor's to decide who uses Medical Cannabis and let Patients decide how they medicate. Anything less is unacceptable

Correct. They're not doing their jobs. Just like they don't care what the 2nd Amendment guarantees, and they [Republicans] let open carry pass by one more year. 45 states are OC now. Even states much more liberal than Florida!! And do they wonder why right-wingers will eventually take over? Just like Trump did because the Pubs kept ignoring the people. Putnam needs to say he will push forcefully for OC, or I will vote for the Democrat winner. Why? Because gridlock with the Florida Rinos will be just as good or better than idiot Pubs not listening to the people. They're forgetting just like our US Congress has. Come on 2018!!! TRUMP 2020!!!!!

Correct. They're not doing their jobs. Just like they don't care what the 2nd Amendment guarantees, and they [Republicans] let open carry pass by one more year. 45 states are OC now. Even states much more liberal than Florida!! And do they wonder why right-wingers will eventually take over? Just like Trump did because the Pubs kept ignoring the people. Putnam needs to say he will push forcefully for OC, or I will vote for the Democrat winner. Why? Because gridlock with the Florida Rinos will be just as good or better than idiot Pubs not listening to the people. They're forgetting just like our US Congress has. Come on 2018!!! TRUMP 2020!!!!!

Those that have the power to order a special legislative session unfortunately have been against medical marijuana since the beginning. They can show their power and opposition to amendment 2 by dragging this out as long as possible. Just continue living with pain and whatever debilitating illness you suffer from and don't expect a special session anytime soon. They didn't care about you before the amendment passed and they don't care about you now.

I trust Gov. Scott with this issue.

If you trust Governor Scott with this issue you're oblivious and or just not paying attention! Governor Scott is against legalization of any sort and he always has been. Just another clueless voter you are! And before you go there, I'm a Republican!

They ALL have piled on. Putnam is being singled out because he is a "LARGE" target as compared to the mayor of Tallahassee who got on the bandwagon AFTER Putnam..... The sad thing is the elected Representative shirked their duty once again by NOT getting their job done in the allotted time. It seems as if they are trying to build the case for a full-time legislature and then we all will be screwed!

Opium was completely legal in China and destroyed the nation. Grow up pot heads. In Florida it is Medical weed. As a state we can say NO to complete open dispersal and usage, so it is the legislatures duty to craft processes that comply with the law. Funny thing though, Weed is still Schedule 1 on the federal level, as such, it is illegal nationally. I hope the feds come down on the open access states. Florida could set the right example is they take it seriously.

You're obviously a complete a**hole! You hope the feds come down and step on states rights in complete violation of our constitution? You do realize that marijuana is NOT opium right? Clueless much? Also, as a state 71% of the electorate says yes to marijuana so you're in the minority and thank goodness there are more "real" people than there are a**holes like yourself in the state of Florida. Funny thing though, none of us take tight asses like you seriously anyways. #getoveryourself

SPS, Your opinion does not matter. You are clearly brainwashed and delusional. You literally couldn't be any more wrong. You are greatly outnumbered, the majority very strongly disagree with you. Actually, the FDA scheduling is completely wrong. Jeff Sessions has gotten blasted for comparing pot to opiates. Again, your opinion means nothing.

Cannabis is now COMPLETELY LEGAL in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Washington DC and Vermont! 29 states have legalized cannabis for “medical use”. Uruguay and Jamaica are now completely legal, Canada will go fully legal in 2018 and Mexico is moving forward toward full legalization. According to figures from the FBI over 100 BILLION is spent on illegal recreational cannabis annually in the USA and all that money currently goes to criminals. 30 BILLION is lost in potential tax revenue. Another 15 BILLION is spent on enforcing draconian cannabis laws that make absolutely no sense and destroy people's lives daily. The Center for Disease Control posts that cannabis is much safer than booze or tobacco!! Legalize, regulate and TAX!

Dems recognize that Commissioner Putnam is their biggest threat, so it's starting early. The Dems biggest problem is their own party.

I'm a Republican and the Democrats have no bearing whatsoever on my opinions or who I will vote for. I vote on the issues and inregards to this specific issue Adam Putnam has NOT shown me that he is legitimate in his support for marijuana in Florida. I'm not a single issue voter but I assure this particular issue and where the candidates stand will ABSOLUTELY influence my vote. #legalizeit

Not to worry "Opie"; As Tina Turner sings,.."You're better than ALL the rest...!" (and.....don't stand so close to that "wet-nosed neophyte" Matt Gaetz..or he'll make you a "stepping stone" to HIS higher aspirations...[As Julius Caesar said, "Et Tu Brute ?"]

Adam Putnam thinks he is ready for a promotion? He's delusional. He sucked at his Agriculture job, he measures his success by how much he spends, and he doesn't care about property rights. We need a bureaucrat like Putnam to run the State, like we need a third nostril. Has Putnam improved anything since he took office? Can't think of anything, can you? Has Putnam cut his budget to run his department more efficiently? No. We need someone who knows what he is doing not someone who can campaign and spend money. Putnam is the epitome a bureaucrat who's only purpose is to grow government to move up the ladder. Being incompetent is bad enough but stepping on property rights is unforgivable. Putnam is not worthy of being called a Republican.

"R.C." make "noises" like an "in House" Bureaucrat, or an actual whining politician, or Matt Gaetz' DADDY (from afar)..... [Cut the "apron strings" Man!!!!]

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