• Legislation filed to implement medical marijuana in Florida

    By: Chris Heath

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Florida is one step closer to medical marijuana.

    Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg filed legislation (SB 614) Wednesday, to implement Amendment 2. 

    Amendment 2, the medical marijuana amendment, passed with 71 percent support from Florida voters in November 2016. The amendment requires the Florida Legislature to craft legislation to implement and regulate medical marijuana.

    “The overwhelming support of Amendment 2 was a strong mandate that Floridians demand fundamental change to the way we regulate medical marijuana,” Brandes said in a written statement. “The laws on the books today promote a state-sanctioned cartel system that limits competition, inhibits access, and results in higher prices for patients. This legislation outright repeals Florida’s defective law.”

    Current Florida law limits the number of nurseries allowed to grow marijuana.

    “We want to encourage competition because that drives the cost down of medical marijuana,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith D - Orange County.

    “It is also important that we also level the playing field for minority owned businesses to have access to free market that is medical marijuana,” Guillermo Smith said.

    Guillero Smith points out that many aspects of marijuana regulation will still need to be ironed out by the Legislature including things like employment regulations for people prescribed medical marijuana.

    The bill, which does not have a House companion yet, does have the support of United For Care, the group that backed Amendment 2 in 2016.

    “Senator Brandes' implementing bill does an excellent job of establishing a comprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida,” said Ben Pollara of United for Care. “The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access. SB 614 does both in a well-regulated, well thought out manner.”

    Florida For Care plans to hold a meeting Feb. 8 on medical marijuana and its implementation. Click here for more.

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