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Senate Committee Green Lights Bill to Regulate Medical Marijuana

April 3, 2017 - 8:00pm

A Florida Senate committee unanimously passed a plan to regulate Florida’s newly expanded medical marijuana industry on Monday. 

SB 406, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, altered his bill slightly to incorporate what he called “the will of the voters” and to make it more palatable for senators and pro-pot groups alike.

On Friday, bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, filed eight different amendments to alter his original proposal.

One of the new amendments would create a coalition for medical marijuana research through Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Center and Research Institute, one of the top medical research centers in the state.

The goal of the coalition, according to the amendment, is to conduct “rigorous scientific research,” and to “guide policy” for the adoption of a statewide policy on ordering and dosing practices for medical marijuana. 

An education board, appointed by Dr. Alan List, the chief executive officer of the Moffitt Cancer Center, will adopt a plan for medical marijuana research in Florida. By Feb. 15 of each year, the board would need to report to the governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House on research projects, community outreach initiatives and future plans of the coalition in regards to medical marijuana. 

Nonresidents would also be allowed to apply to receive medical marijuana in Florida as long as they are able to get medical marijuana in their home state and qualify in Florida. 

Another amendment would require the Department of Health to have computer software system to track marijuana from “seed to sale,” following pot as it’s planted and distributed to patients statewide.

A separate amendment would require an independent laboratory to test medical marijuana before it is distributed to suffering patients in Florida. Patients would also be allowed to increase their supply from 45 to 90 days or even more than 90 days with a doctor’s approval.

Bradley’s original proposal would also increase the cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries, expanding the number of businesses by five more when the state has 250,000 patients, 350,000 patients, 400,000 patients and then every 100,000 thereafter. 

At least one of the five dispensaries would have to be a black-owned company according to a new amendment. 

Meanwhile, another, more restrictive proposal to regulate medical pot has been making its way through the House of Representatives. That measure, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, would ban smokeable marijuana as well as prohibit edibles and vaping. 

The House bill would also limit the number of growers in the state, resulting in far fewer growers.

Pro-medical marijuana advocates have railed against Rodrigues’ bill, saying it shuts out free market growers and goes against the will of Florida voters, who passed Amendment 2 to expand medical marijuana by 71 percent. 

The bill will now head to the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee for approval.



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



I have been involved with both legal medical and recreational marijuana business and legislation in several States. What amazes me is that these politicians must believe that cannabis is not widely used in its flower form, and to a great extent, by the citizens of the State of Florida. The guiding principle of legalization is to curtail the massive unregulated black market, wherein: patients do not know if their purchased products have been adulterated, monetary gains from the elicit sales end up in the pockets of criminals and their criminal organizations, and those that need the plant for its profound medicinal (wellness) capabilities cannot garner the products in a timely fashion without "always looking over their shoulders" and/or without paying a hefty price for those products due to the plants illegality. A well regulated (and robust) marketplace for medicinal use can be obtained, I assure you. The biggest hold back that I see with regards to the current legislation being proposed is that cannabis in its flower form is being withheld from the people. I have read your comments and completely agree that flower must be made available for purchase by the patients (whom have jumped through many hoops), as it is the most cost effective way to obtain the cannabinoid therapies which they seek. I have created many compounds from the plant, at a great cost to manufacture, thereby passing that extra cost onto consumers. I can also assure you that is it much less expensive to process cannabis flower, thereby reducing the cost to the consumer. My recommendation would be for each of you that commented here to call their State Senator(s) and require that flower be included in the proposed legislation. I have been told that Floridians (patients) are currently paying in excess of $300 PER GRAM for cannabis concentrates... THAT IS CRIMINAL IN AND OF ITSELF. The cost to manufacture, process, and distribute a gram of concentrate (in raw form) falls within a range of $25-$50 dependent on the various styles of cultivation, processes of extraction, packaging, operations and running costs and taxation. To add; I have read that many citizens believe that a free market system, wherein an allotment for many industry specific businesses will decrease the end cost to the consumer. While this can be true on paper, I can attest that it does more harm than good. Also; if there exists a dozen (highly) regulated dispensing organizations (vertically integrated), there will be plenty of stiff competition for market share. Enough so that the pricing to the consumer will be within the range of cost that I previously stated. Again, if you want your "wellness" product to be inexpensive; you need to exert control on your elected officials to allow for flower. Frankly, a majority of patients will not enjoy cannabis concentrates due to the rapid up-regulation (modulation) of their endocannabinoid system, as this has been my experience working with patients and large groups of consumers. Flower in its basic form will not cause many of those patients to become over medicated for varying reasons (past experience, lower dosage of cannabinoids found in raw flower form, etc.). Again, make the call to your elected officials. Call everyone you know that also voted for this amendment and direct them to do that same. This is the time to act, so act now. -E

you are so right and might I add this will increase the Black Market. I would love to talk to you further on this subject. Could you contact me at: Thanks

These politicians do not realize that a simple tincture or spray is not going to help everyone. My husband has glaucoma and the only way it works is if you smoke it. Want to know why your eyes get red when you smoke? For a glaucoma patient, it means that the redder their eyes are, the more the pressure comes down . Tinctures are for spasms, not for gaucoma. We voted for legal marijuana, so give it to us. Stop trying to regulate our lives like you know what we need. Poloticians are not doctors and do not know the medicinal properties of the many different compounds of the plant.


Pot is really a medicine for all. Prescription pills just lead to other problems they help you for what you need it for but then leads on to another problem so they prescribe you another pill next thing you know your taking 5,6,7 or even 8 pills

Completely agree with you Bill Z, I guess what needs to happen is they all need to loose their seats as state Representatives and then maybe they'll figure it out...we, the People of Florida decide what's right for us, majority rules.

We voted for marijuana plain and simple. They are a bunch of sore losers up there. Rodriguez' bill is insane. To watch his smug face sit there at say " You voted for medical marijuana so we are giving you medicine" Um no Rodriguez,We voted for Medical use of Marijuana rather than legal Marijuana. They are both Marijuana exactly the same,just only legal to people that are sick. We also voted for our Doctors to decide if our problems are qualifying for marijuana, just like any other day in a doctors office. I have 7 doctors, friends with 3 more , and my brother is one. They all voted for marijuana. You need to leave this to Doctors and patients like it was voted. Bradleys bill is bad to me also. People that are sick are limited on money. Sick people have normal medical to still deal with even with this bill passed. These politicians changing what we voted for "marijuana" into this unnecessary product that requires extra steps and money to make,plus the expensive packaging. So besides your normal medical bills, now we have to pay cash for doctors visit and forced to pay for a unnecessary processed marijuana. I'm sure the dispensaries would love to be able to just throw marijuana into a reusable jar. They could offer other products for people that could afford it. Jeff Brandes bill was the closest thing to what we voted for. They keep making excuses for not considering his because it would take longer. That really is BS! These bills people aren't going to work. The dispensaries are in major debt. Prices will be high. There will be a surge of patients in the beginning but it will fizzle out for sure. It's just going to be a pain in the ass to get. Cash for doctors, cash for unnecessary processed marijuana., paying $75 a year for card, etc. Politicians have totally sabatoged this whole movement and it will crumble to nothing and it's just easier for people to get from black market and these bills will make the black market even stronger. I am even starting to wonder about Ben Pollaro from United for care. He thinks this Bradley bill is great. It's not even close to Yes on 2. He seems to think we should just settle for it because it's better than the Houses Bill. One last thing- they are claiming that turning marijuana into this unnecessary costly product is safer for kid safety. Well that is a joke in the real world. Example: Let's say you have tremors,uncontrollable spasms,seizures,arthritis and you try to open this liquid and spill or drop it, you are now out of your medicine for a month or so. That wouldn't happen if it was a plant. Or how about your teen,baby,or pet get into a concentrated liquid and drink it? For starters you won't know because it doesn't smell like the plant. So how can I smell or see if my teen got it,or my baby ate it, or my pet ate it? Plus they would be getting a high dose with the liquid. Now of course I would be more responsible,but there will be stories like that. So to senator Bradley it's safer to people in your family if it is in plant form and people with physical issues who might drop it wouldn't have to worry about the plant falling. You are not going to be able to get a refill if you drop it. Hopefully there is a bunch of lawsuits after any of these restrictive bills go through, that we didn't vote for! Hopefully Bradley, Dana young , Rodriguez and legislators like these are booted out by voters, Everybody needs to come together on this. Hopefully Morgan runs for Governor, and we need to stop our Governer Scott from his future plan of making it to D.C in a year. He has been sitting quiet. So it's time we squash his plans also!

I agree wholeheartedly with you on this issue we need to send our dictators in Tallahassee to California and see how it should be done or Colorado they don't have all this BS that The people of Florida for. Come on we have 71% of the vote why is all these politicians trying to to tell us how and where we can get our medicine. What is it going to take for us to have access to a good Doctor and a good dispensary with knowledgeable bud tender s

I like that, Morgan For Governor, works for me, and maybe Adrian Wyllie should be participating.

Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes SB 614 bill is Florida's best chance. Thank you sir for having an open mind. Hopefully, the rest of those representatives will reel back their own draconian bill. Make it work for the people folks and not just business. Your actions speak louder than your words; your rhetoric is toxic to the people that are "on the fence" about this topic. If those Reps actually cared, then they would give what 71% of Floridians REALLY want. Stop the BS and support your states economic growth. You can tell who is biased in Tallahassee.

Lawmakers have no intention of doing the will of Floridians. Instead, they are ignoring the mandate A2 got in favor of the money. They even plan to give DFAF a half million taxpayer dollars. Yes, the organization that spent 10 million dollars fighting A2 will get a half million dollars to "educate" Floridians on the"dangers" of Medical Cannabis. They'll spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers money to fight implementation of A2 as intended. Vote the bums out

Having read Sen. Bradley’s interpretation of the amendment, and comparing it with the language of the drafters, “a requirement that a single MMTC must perform all MMTC functions would be contrary to the language and intent of this Amendment, which clearly calls for a variety of business functions in the language.” By Bradley’s use of the word “and” as opposed to the word “or” in the language of Amendment 2, he is attempting to circumvent the intent of the drafters in favor of a vertical integration system. Numerous lawsuits and class actions will be instituted, thereby prolonging the suffering of the patients that Amendment 2 was drafted to help.

I believe that anyone with disabilities should be able to have the right treatment to smoke, vape or use oils. Whatever is best for them. I smoke because it helps me with nausea, brings back my hunger. It hard doing chemo for the last four years. I really believe in the medical properties. Also I love the fact that it can kill cancer cells. No person should live in hell with cancer. I am a firm believer in a positive attitude. Don't ever give up.. We the people of Florida have spoken. 71% Peace Out and god bless.

Amazing, how this plant has spawned vast criminal empires, vast prison systems, vast judicial and police empires. When will we all come to our senses? Prohibition does not work.

Apparently you haven't done your research. If this plant was legalize in the States it would cripple vast criminal empires. I suggest you do more research on the matter and watch some documentary like "culture high".

The VOTERS in Florida have made their choice CLEARLY known. Further research and "quality control" are OK, but our Pea-Brained Legislature needs the realize that -- THEIR CONSTITUENTS WANT IT! And they want it as a BUSINESS, not a Micro-controlled set of Limiting LAWS!

Representative Ray Rodrigues kept his plans on the House bill secret, not disclosing his true intentions, taking donations from advocates, depositing in his PAC, and then releasing the bill in the final hour before the deadline. Only then did the public truly see the intentions of Representative Rodrigues. Rodrigues must of chuckled all the way to the bank as he deposited the thousands of dollars, and then released this highly restrictive House bill not in keeping with the majority of the voters. Ironically enough Rodrigues PAC is called "Free Markets for Florida." I suppose the free market only exists for groups that are aligned with Rodrigues to include the sugar industry, utilities, gambling, and other big money special interests. Rodrigues is a coward in that he never fully engaged constituents in a healthy and vigorous debate. Instead, the Majority House Leader smiled, took the money, and watched after his own special interests. Why are you afraid to debate the issues Mr. Rodrigues? Does the truth scare you to the point of losing your intestinal fortitude, shrinking from debate, and like a thief in the night showing us your true intentions?

Well said

all of these regulations from the party of deregulation? Interesting hypocrisy...

Medical pot should be readily available at reasonable prices by having a lot of competition. And smoking or vaping natural pot is the safest way as self limiting.......................... That there has never been a poisoning death from pot makes it safer than water................... I don't want to keep taking Vicodan as really just slightly changed Heroin to get a patent. I want a safe, effective pain med that one doesn't have to keep taking more and more of then stops working............................ Vs pot you wake up refreshed every morning instead drugged, addicted needing a fix.................... It takes a certain kind of scumbag to be against making medical pot widely available.

What I cannot comprehend is how the Rodriguez bill was essentially written and promoted by the Florida Anti-Medical Marijuana Nazi's!!! They should not be even slightly involved with the laws being written!!! Let alone voicing their opinions!!! When you are on the losing side, "YOUR VOICE SHOULD NEVER BE HEARD"!!! The Rodriguez bill should be "IMMEDIATELY SHREDDED". Myself, as one of the 71% of voters "APPROVING" of Medical Marijuana, I would expect the correct Bill to be adhered to, would be the Bradley Bill!!! It is what the voters "APPROVED"!!!

How can anyone with a heart, make cancer patients wait 90 days?!?!

Why aren't more reporters pointing out that Bradley's bill will make MMJ available to more patients, including those suffering from non-malignant chronic pain, whereas the house bill allows recommendations for a much smaller group? Especially in light of Florida's history re opioids. MMJ will help many people who are otherwise limited to more dangerous medicines.

The Rodrigues bill is restrictive garbage and would open up the state and the department to lawsuits. The Brandes bill (SB614) is the best choice for Florida. The Bradley bill just got a lot more attractive.

Not what the 71% voted for. There will be lawsuits, we still won't win. We will vote for full legalization in 2018 and win with 81%. Just wait, watch, and see. Only a matter of time. Blessings to all.

How you know we will vote for full legalization? That would be great but, how do you know? and forgive me for my ignorance.

Our lawmakers failed to deliver on what 71% of Florida voters requested, we now have to take back their responsibility and just legalize to everyone of age. Our lawmakers are playing games with the people of Florida, we are done. Legal carry,Flowers, oil and legal home growing.

It's already on the ballot for this November.

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