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Politics

Scott Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

June 23, 2017 - 6:30pm

It’s official: Florida Gov. Scott has signed a bill to regulate Florida’s growing medical marijuana industry into law.


 The bill, SB 8A, was among 38 other proposals the governor signed into law on Friday.
 
Scott’s signature comes after a tumultuous several months for medical marijuana. State lawmakers planned for months to hammer out regulations for the medical marijuana industry after voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to expand the drug’s use for patients with "debilitating" conditions last November. 
 
Negotiations over how to regulate the drug collapsed, however, after lawmakers reached an impasse in May over exactly how many retail facilities medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) should be allowed to open. 
 
At the time, the House pushed a more generous measure, proposing Florida allow an unlimited number of dispensaries. That number was later pared down to 100, then 50, but senators said the number was too high and the legislation died.
 
Lawmakers called it quits during the regular legislative session, but with a sense of “mission unaccomplished” returned to the Florida Capitol this week to hammer out an agreement to appease the will of Florida voters who said “yes” to the constitutional amendment last fall.
 
Under the new proposal, which was carried by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, MMTCs would be limited to 25 retail facilities, a number both the House and Senate finally agreed upon after months of debate. 
 
The legislation allows for 10 new medical marijuana treatment centers to open by Oct. 3, in addition to the seven original growers already in operation.
 
The Senate bill would also set aside millions of dollars to research medical marijuana at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center, one of the leading research institutes in the state. 
 
"This is still important, necessary legislation that provides patient access and begins to fulfill the will of [the] 71 percent [of voters,]" wrote Florida For Care executive director Ben Pollara earlier this month. 
 
SB 8A allows for edibles, vaping, oils and pill form of medical cannabis, but the current legislation prohibits smoking the drug, which has become a hot button issue for some medical marijuana advocates throughout the state.
 
Orlando attorney John Morgan, who was largely responsible for crafting the amendment, said he plans to sue the state to allow suffering patients to smoke the drug. 
 
“Great Scott!! I'll be filing my lawsuit for smoke as soon as it goes into law,” he wrote on Twitter. 
 
Morgan says state lawmakers didn’t quite understand the intent of Amendment 2, which he largely crafted with other pro-medical marijuana advocates.
 
“I don’t know what their problem is with smoke but that’s clearly the intent of the amendment,” Morgan said.  “I will get to sue them to allow medical marijuana to be smoked.”
 
Morgan told Sunshine State News Amendment 2 restricts patients from smoking the drug in public, but said the underlying implication is that medical marijuana can be smoked in the privacy of patients’ homes.  
 
“They’re making it a health issue like someone in chemotherapy is taking a few tokes,” Morgan said. “It’s a bunch of people who don't understand what they don't understand. When you're dying the last thing you care about is the smoke from marijuana."
 
 
 
 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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Comments

I have said this before and I will say it again. Patients MUST have HIPAA protection and Cannabis MUST be removed from pre-employment drug screening. Even though this is an awesome step forward for the patients in the state of Florida it won't do any good for patients who are subjected to pre-employment drug screens and post-employment random testing - who test positive for Cannabis and then lose their job due to a "dirty" test result. I just went through this for a pre-employment screening. I had to stop medicating as recommended and then put my aging body through a stringent detox in hope that I would pass the test. Well... I did pass the test. But at what price? How about the strain I put my kidneys through. Possibly damaging them. Also the overtime my liver, gallbladder and pancreas were subjected. For 14 days. This invasive testing has got to stop. Without jobs patients cannot continue to medicate as recommended. I will be in for medicine on the first day after my first paycheck from the new job. So, I will see you all on July 15. Until then I will not be medicating appropriately due to monetary constraints. Nor will I be resuming the 5 of 7 prescriptions that I have been able to eliminate. Thank you Trulieve for being on top of the changes and letting your patients know in these informative releases. May Yahweh bless your dispensary and your kind, knowledgeable employees. Peace and Love xoxox

I couldn't agree with you more. I'm an RN. I have a bad back and a fusion in my neck and they want to fuse my back. I'm only 45 and don't want this. My doctor gets mad if I don't take my meds every day or they aren't in my system because I regulate my intake in order to not be an addict! I want to smoke. I hadn't for years and my roommate came home and said screw it smoke. I was crying in pain from the injections I just got that where excruciating. I couldn't believe the relief I got and the best nights sleep in years. I suffer from insomnia as well. Mostly cuz I'm in pain. I can't get a job at any hospital or god forbid get hurt on job I'm screwed. It will require at least one year before I can return if they don't put me on no rehire!! The need to eliminate it if you qualify for it.

I just copied and pasted from my Facebook comment on the news release from Trulieve. Hence the last half of the comment. ✌️❤️ xoxox

God put cannabis on this Earth...it is not man made...so man should not tell us what we can and can't do with it....its all about the almighty dollar

How can the legislature legitimately think that smoking wasn't the point. Some people with ALS for example, require the dry mouth to help them breathe. Political nonsense that will cost the state money in a lawsuit.

One Nation One Law... End the illegal prohibition on Cannabis, The people have spoken... give us flowers! I hate Vaping.... it tastes like CHEMICALS! I want what God grew, as he grew it!

There is dangerous products in vape liquids PG converts to formaldahyd

Vaping is so dangerous and kids are dying, but the legislature here in Florida doesn't care about them. IT is selling like crazy. But God forbid we get mj, WE VOTED FOR- with only 25 dispensaries.

Thank you John Morgan. This is going to help a lot of people. I, for one, would like to see Florida go the way of Colorado, and use the revenue to fund schools and medicaid. Joe Redner, of Tampa strip club fame, is also planning a lawsuit to allow qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own. https://www.420magazine.com/forums/international-cannabis-news/371579-fl-tampas-joe-redner-wants-grow-his-own-cannabis-plants-says-suit.html

Thank you John Morgan. This is going to help a lot of people. I, for one, would like to see Florida go the way of Colorado, and use the revenue to fund schools and medicaid. Joe Redner, of Tampa strip club fame, is also planning a lawsuit to allow qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own. https://www.420magazine.com/forums/international-cannabis-news/371579-fl-tampas-joe-redner-wants-grow-his-own-cannabis-plants-says-suit.html

It needs to be smoke and GROW your own.

AND John Morgan needs to realize that JUICING marijuana fresh from the garden includes the cannabinoids THCA, and CBDA which are both antiproliferative (inhibits cancer growth). JUICING freshly grown marijuana straight from the garden should be available to patients as well. Once the flowering herb is dried and heated as in the "oils" that benefit is lost. Patients should be able to grow their own.

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