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Brandes Files Bill to Scrap, Overhaul Florida Medical Marijuana Laws

February 1, 2017 - 9:45am

Sen. Jeff Brandes is taking on Florida’s medical marijuana industry in a big way, proposing a total recall of all the state’s marijuana laws and overhauling the system with an entirely new set of regulations.

On Wednesday, Brandes filed SB 614, which would repeal Florida’s medical marijuana laws. Earlier this month, the state implemented Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana for patients with “debilitating” medical conditions in the Sunshine State.

The St. Petersburg Republican, an outspoken advocate for medical pot, says his new proposal is designed to encourage more participation from medical marijuana providers. 

“The overwhelming support of Amendment 2 was a strong mandate that Floridians demand fundamental change to the way we regulate medical marijuana,” Brandes explained.

The state’s current laws, Brandes explained, aren’t the right choice for Florida’s booming medical marijuana industry.

 “The laws on the books today promote a state-sanctioned cartel system that limits competition, inhibits access, and results in higher prices for patients,” he said. “Florida should focus on what is best for patients.”

Brandes’ law would eliminate the statutory caps on Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers and establish four new types of function licenses for MMTCs. 

MMTCs would have cultivation, processing, transportation and retail licenses and could possess any license or a combination of multiple function licenses. Under current law, retail licenses are permitted on a population basis of one license per 25,000 residents in every county. 

Local governments still have a great deal of power in the medical marijuana since they can prohibit retail facilities in their jurisdiction. 

Voters overwhelmingly favored Amendment 2 in November, passing the measure with 71 percent of the vote. 

Florida implemented Amendment 2 earlier this month, but the rollout of the industry has been riddled with uncertainties since the state will need to revise the rules and regulations about current dispensing laws.

The state legislature and the Florida Department of Health still have six months to revise the current dispensing rules and have up to nine months to implement those rules, which could throw a wrench into the state's newest prescription drug. 

The road to dispensing medical marijuana has already been full of roadblocks, particularly from cities and local governments trying to fight off the medical pot business. 

Cities and counties around the state have expressed fears over medical pot shops popping up in commercial zones and school zones, though it is uncertain just how many dispensaries will be built statewide. 

Pasco and Manatee Counties have both said they want bans on the drug and other counties, like Hillsborough, already have a ban in place until April. Local governments are also cracking down on the drug -- Panama City Beach officials have said they want an all-out ban of growing, cultivation and dispensing of the drug for eight months while city and county staff studied the activities. 

Medical marijuana supporters say Brandes’ bill is a step in the right direction for the future of pot in Florida.

“Sen. Brandes’ bill does an excellent job of establishing acomprehensive, tightly regulated medical marijuana system in Florida,” said United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara on Wednesday. “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.”

To view the bill’s full text, click here



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


Of course the Pasco County Sheriff''s office doesn'the want to implement the new law. They are afraid of losing funding for the ridiculous 'war on drugs'. What are they going to do with all the personnel that supposedly enforce the draconian laws against marijuna?? What they would have to do is SOLVE REAL CRIMES!! Not crimes that don'the hurt ANYONE. I am a business owner, all my life and every night, after I finish my days work, I smoke marijuana. This started while I was in college. I have havery been doing this every evening for over 40 years. I don'the drink ANY ALCOHOL. I never have, nor have I committed any VIOLENT CRIMES against my fellow citizens. Ask yourself, why doesn'the the Sheriffs Office so against this law? There's just too much money to be lost by the Sheriff's Office. Remember prohibition? Did it work, or did it just corrupt law enforcement, politicians, and made criminals out of otherwise respectable citizens. It's time to legalize small amounts of this plant for consumption by citizens of legal age, Wethersfield it be 18 years old or 21 years of age. Otherwise we are still making money for the REAL DRUG DEALERS. After all we have been through with prohibition, drug wars, and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that the drug cartels are making, why do we still cling to the idea that throwing more money, prisons, and LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, along with jails and correction officers will solve the problem? Insanity is defined as someone who keeps repeating the sAmerican thing over and over expecting different results. Are we insane??? Maybe.

Sorry, there are a few words in my last comment that this pad changed on me, but I'must sure that you can read what I am saying. J.P.

Lose the greed free the weed!!

Hay I am from WA state. Nothing's is different now that we have recreational cannabis. We didn't slide off into the ocean.

"HAY"!...So what the hell you doing HERE?!?...A "tour of the marijuana States"? Or are you a homeless vagabond seeking the heat?

No it doesn't sound like a homeless vagabond to me. Just someone telling the truth, for a change.

I would suggest some good attorneys more familiar with some other current. State laws that already have working laws with Cannabis write this one for Florida . I don't think emphasis on returning a dead persons registration card. I the first 200 or whatever lines of the law is really looking at this from the correct perspective . We should be looking at a more compassionate centered approach . This guy is all over the map. Tonydfixer Seattle

Ah! A "community organizer for marijuana"...maybe even a "hired gun attorney" from another failed, infected State on the Pacific coast... If so, You can go home now.

Blessings to everyone. Who seek Justice

Better then nothing, still way to much regulation for a plant, a herb and food. we are tired of being arrested for a plant

SO sick and tired of hearing about how Florida passed and legalized medical marijuana. Where? When? How? Dafuq Floriduh. I love living here, but come on, get with the program. Take care of the People. Stop the needless suffering of humans. And,,,,so tired of reading Florida legalized etc in the news...including this article. "Earlier this month, the state implemented Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana for patients with “debilitating” medical conditions in the Sunshine State." Its legal? then why are so many suffering still? show me the friggin weed.

what the state did, the corrupt state, is added the conditions contained in A2 to their legislative monopoly all with out legislative approval but the state does not care because they get money from it, sop if you have a a2 condition and a 90 day relationship with one of their doctors you can go to one of their dispensaries and get what they have which is nothing like a dispensary in any other state

Finally. The people voted...and more than any other state. It's time to give the people exactly what they voted for, if not more! The sick and ill people of Florida deserve this. I pray that everyone in Florida along with all of our state legislators support Senator Jeff Brandes Medical Cannabis Bill S.B. 614 Blessings to everyone.

Blessings to everyone. Justice for All

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