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Senate Approves Amended House Medical Marijuana Bill

May 4, 2017 - 6:45pm

The Florida Senate passed the Florida House proposal to regulate medical marijuana in Florida on Thursday in the latest chapter of one of the most hotly-debated and most publicized topics during this year's legislative session.

Senators approved the House proposal by a vote of 31-7. The measure now goes back to the House.

The Senate bill sponsor, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, late-filed a 70-page amendment to the House bill Thursday morning, just hours before that chamber took up the measure. 

Among the proposed changes in Bradley’s amendment: limiting growers to opening up five retail facilities, an alteration from the House version, which previously allowed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) to open unlimited facilities. 

The delete-all amendment would allow the Department of Health to grant 10 new licenses before October 1st and would add five new licenses for every 75,000 patients.

Earlier this week, the Florida House of Representatives green-lighted its version of a proposal to regulate Florida’s medical marijuana industry after the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed a lengthy strike-all amendment to the legislation early Tuesday morning. 

Rodrigues overhauled HB 1397 in a last-minute amendment which spanned 82 pages and made several suggestions and changes to dispensing, labeling and the overall provisions of the medical marijuana industry.

Rodrigues’ bill passed 105-9.

The amended version of the House bill would allow patients to get a 70-day supply of medical marijuana, but would put caps on physicians, who would not be able to give more than three 70-day prescriptions to patients at a time.

Qualifying patients could find themselves knocked off the Compassionate Use registry if they no longer meet the requirements of a “debilitating” condition or find themselves “cured” of their ailments under the House’s proposal.

The bill still bans smoking, though it now allows edibles and vaping and permits prengant women to use the low-THC form of the drug if recommended by their doctor.

Lawmakers debated the proposal for hours, and although the bill passed, not every state senator approved of the measure. 

"We are not doctors. This is not the way to approve medications,” said Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who said he feared widespread abuse of the drug. “I hope we are not creating the next pill mill crisis.”

Even though pro-medical marijuana groups didn’t see Bradley’s bill as the perfect solution to regulate medical marijuana, they still ended up supporting it anyway. 

“Sen. Bradley’s amendment to HB 1397 moves much closer to the House’s position than I wanted to see, but nevertheless has the full support of Florida for Care,” said Florida For Care executive director Ben Pollara. “Anyone who would say Bradley’s proposal is anything but a fair reasonable compromise between the two chambers are being unreasonable themselves.”

Bradley warned legislators that this was just the beginning of negotiations over medical cannabis in Florida.

"This doesn't end tomorrow,” he said. “We will be dealing with this issue every session as this product evolves."

Still, Bradley said lawmakers owed it to suffering Floridians to make sure they gave them options to find relief in a safe, efficient way.”

"We owe it to the people who can use this medicine to make sure there is an orderly way for them to get it,” Bradley said.

The legislative session is scheduled to end Monday.  



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



Sen Dennis Baxley...cannabis won't become another "pill mill crisis". Cannabis is the only way to stop it.

The bill does not have everything I'd like to see. As an adult, I'd like to use it any way I see fit-- smoking including. I'd like to see more companies participating so that the quality would be forced up and the cost forced down. However, I'm glad we will be access marijuana in some form. Maybe we'll get smoking next year. I'm a retired elderly professor. I live in constant pain and there is good evidence that medical marijuana will improve my quality of life.

If the Florida Senate, House or health department wants to Control who or how "PATIENTS" can use Cannabis and not leave it up to the individual and their doctor the only thing I can say is they should be held liable for every needless death in the state of Florida.   The following is the reason I have made such a strong statement. FACTS not FICTION: overdose deaths 2013 state of Florida, 2,474. Overdose deaths 2014 State of Florida 2,634 increase of 160 deaths. NOTE: CDC does not show yet OD Deaths for 2015 to present. I am sure the number is increasing. "UPDATE" Jacksonville Florida ABC Sun Coast News May 2017, reported 544 people died of overdose deaths in Jacksonville alone. They also investigated the claim that states that instituted a medical marijuana program saw a significant decline in the number of OVERDOSE DEATHS and prescription drugs issued through the Medicare program. WE ARE NOT TALKING about JUNKIES or HIPPIES HERE We are talking about SENIORS "MEDICARE PROGRAM" GRANDMOTHERS AND GRANDFATHERS. IF ABC Suncoast News did a followup story they would find that most of the States that had the more Liberal Laws had the best Results in combating the Narcotic Epidemic. NBC NEWS MAY 4 2017 " Rick Scott governor of Florida has officially declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency".the article also states "Scott had been under increasing pressure from lawmakers to do something about the epidemic". As the legislation is drawn up Now it will do very little to help FLORIDA CITIZENS it instead is all about, campaign donations, greed, Prohibitionists, drug company s and a large donation 800,000 to the NO ON 2 campaign From a well known Florida food and drug chain and the list goes on. I am just an old Farm Boy and that was taught hard work and common Sence would always get me through LIFE. The one thing that I remember on our living room wall hung a picture of a cow standing on its own teat with tears in It's eyes. The caption on the picture read "DON'T JUST STAND THERE DO SOMETHING" Except for a minute minority, Sen. Jeff Clemens , Sen. Jeff Brandes. and a couple more come to mind. AS FOR THE REST OF OUR LAWMAKERS, I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE ANYMORE BRAINS THAN A COW STANDING ON IT'S OWN TEAT.

Hey Ben Pollera. I was a supporter and my disagreement​ is not unreasonable. This is not what we supported. This is not what 71% voted Yes on. Only full implementation of A2 is acceptable. Get government out of the examination room. Let Doctors decide who and why Patients get to use Medical Cannabis and let Patients decide how they want to medicate. Anything else is unacceptable.

Yes, I have been a pharmacist for 34 years and can tell you all that what is in the pharmacy is far more dangerous than cannabis. Take a bottle of OTC Tylenol at once and your dead in 3 days. Big pharma will kill us all or just keep us hanging by a thread to come back for more poison. That is the definition of a pharmacist, a person licensed to dispense poisons. Look it up.

Some people love to hate cannabis or are afraid of it. Maybe they judge it from seeing someone rude who used it. They do not understand the full nature of this plant and instead make themselves feel better by putting others down. Education about cannabis and its prohibition can go a long way, and in this case, it can seriously help those who are without perfect health live better lives. I can not wait until cannabis prohibition is over - and it will be. It was created due to lies based on fear, hate and greed. I'm glad most people are learning this. If you really love America, study our history. See the truth.

Both versions of the bill sucks and is not what over 71% of Floridians voted for and United For Care sold out patients for supporting a lousy bill. Shame on you Florida!

Here is the list, remember them in November! - Abruzzo Y Cortes, J. Y Grant, M. Y Mercado Y Roth Y Ahern Y Cruz N Gruters Y Metz Y Russell Y Albritton Y Cummings - Hager Y Miller, A. Y Santiago Y Alexander N Daniels Y Hahnfeldt Y Miller, M. Y Shaw Y Altman Y Davis Y Hardemon Y Moraitis - Silvers Y Antone Y Diamond Y Harrell Y Moskowitz N Slosberg Y Asencio Y Diaz, J. Y Harrison Y Newton N Smith Y Ausley Y Diaz, M. Y Henry Y Nuñez Y Spano Y Avila Y Donalds Y Ingoglia Y Oliva Y Sprowls Y Baez Y Drake Y Ingram Y Payne Y Stafford N Berman Y DuBose Y Jacobs - Peters Y Stark Y Beshears Y Duran - Jacquet Y Pigman Y Stevenson Y Bileca Y Eagle N Jenne Y Plakon Y Stone Y Boyd Y Edwards Y Jones Y Plasencia Y Sullivan Y Brodeur Y Eisnaugle Y Killebrew Y Ponder Y Toledo Y Brown N Fant - La Rosa Y Porter Y Trujillo Y Burgess Y Fine Y Latvala Y Pritchett Y Trumbull Y Burton N Fischer Y Lee Y Raburn Y Watson, B. Y Byrd Y Fitzenhagen Y Leek Y Raschein Y Watson, C. Y Caldwell Y Geller Y Magar Y Raulerson Y White Y Clemons N Gonzalez Y Mariano Y Renner Y Willhite Y Combee Y Goodson Y Massullo Y Richardson Y Williams Y Corcoran Y Grall Y McClain Y Rodrigues Y Williamson Y Cortes, B. Y Grant, J. Y McGhee Y Rommel Y Yarborough Total Yeas: 105 Total Nays: 9 Total Abstained: 0 Total Missed: 6 Total Votes: 114

This is what happens when one party dominates the legislative and executive branches. They have the attitude that the people serve them instead of they serving the people. I will take note of how my representatives voted and will work to remove those who refuse to do the will of the people. I am 61, take Vicodin daily for chronic pain and have done so for thirty years. Having traveled to Colorado, I needed NO pain medication while there. I had my freedom back, as I was able to walk to see the countryside. My tremors were gone and I was able to sleep. These legislators are devoid of compassion and empathy. Vote them out!

Yes, because using Marijuana makes you outside your mind. Of course you wouldn't feel anything. It's the reason it and other drugs are abused.

I have never abused the opioids prescribed to me. In fact, I don't even take all that are recommended for me. You don't know me and are making some rather ignorant assumptions. You seem to have a confused thought process. Indeed, one of us is "outside" his/her mind.


I am retired now and just moved back here for my elderly mother. I will spend most of my time making sure these particular politicians will have the door hit them in the ass.

Pay to Play was the order of the day. Senator Bradley you are corrupt and should be investigated, prosecuted and convicted of bribery

Even MORE "Confused Actions" by Florida Legislature --- Seems we have a SWAMP of our own here in FL -- It needs to be CLEANED UP as much as D.C. needs it.

ALL of Florida government is corrupt ,and needs to be drained . 71% of Florida voters voted for Marijuana which should mean consuming it in ALL forms available. HB 1397 is nothing at all what the people of Florida voted for, WE have a bunch of CORRUPT polititions in Florida and the rest of the country that need to be voted out¡!!!!!!!!!!¡!!!!!!!!!!!!

Permits pregnant women to use the low-THC form of the drug if recommended by their doctor. Now we can actually see how completely stupid these politicians are.

So they took the safest, best self regulating way to consume pot, smoking and forced it to more dangerous ways easier to take too much.................. We'll make sure who we are voting against and for next election from this, solar laws we told you we wanted easy, low cost and widely available, a lot of competition and we got none of that.

Much of the 'competition' on da' street, are selling even more than before the idiots in Tallahassee became involved. A guy I know says he and others have no worries and their businesses continue to improve! Not sure about the rest of you but, I'll continue to support my LOCAL vendor!

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a Florida Cabinet officer who is resigning after the legislative session ends in a few days, has given five top-level staffers in his office substantial raises backdated to January, according to state records. Okay. whose money was just given away by Atwater? OURS!

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