Bill Signing Makes Florida 22nd State to Pass Medical Marijuana Legislation

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: June 16, 2014 4:30 PM
Medical marijuana

With the governor's signature Monday on the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, Florida became the 22nd state in the nation -- not counting the District of Columbia, which is also on board -- to pass legislation supporting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Senate Bill 1030 and 1700 were both signed, approving the medication and protecting patient information in the compassionate use registry.

SB 1030 -- nicknamed "the Charlotte's Web bill" -- had overwhelming support of Florida citizens, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature. It passed overwhelmingly in both chambers -- 111-7 in the House and 30-9 in the Senate.

Scott said, “As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer. The approval of Charlotte’s Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life. I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available.”

Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, the bill's co-sponsor in the House, quickly issued a statement expressing hope the bill can be a bright and exciting beginning for Florida.

"I am thankful that the governor has signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 into law," Edwards said. "Florida has the opportunity to lead in the research and development of scientific breakthroughs from cannabis-derived therapies."

She said, "By partnering with our universities, physicians, scientists, and patients, I believe that we are establishing a framework to bring expedited research to the masses so that more patients, not only here in Florida but across the globe, will have access to new therapies that are safe and effective."

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act allows certain patients with seizure disorders, severe and persistent muscle spasms, or cancer to access low-THC cannabis with a recommendation from a licensed physician. The Act also allocates $1 million for research of cannabidiol and its effect on intractable childhood epilepsy.

David Cohn, editor-in-chief of FloridaMarijuanaInfo.org, was more cautious. "This is definitely a major step in furthering medical marijuana use in our state," he said. "“But it'’s important our citizens clearly understand what this bill means to people suffering from debilitating diseases, and the pros and the cons associated with it."”

Among the pros, Cohn says the bill has set a precedent for other Southern states, has been bipartisan, and opens the doors for doctors to recommend an effective treatment program for their patients. It also allows state universities with agricultural and medical programs to conduct research to develop new forms of treatment -- a great opportunity for medical advancement to take place in Florida, he says.

But his list of "cons" is longer. He claims the bill creates a monopoly in the hands of five businesses, severely limiting competition and free enterprise. More research and public inquisition needs to be done to determine exactly who these five companies are, what criteria are being used to select them, how they will be regulated, and to whom they report.

He also claims that, while the last-minute expansion of the bill allowed for additional ailments to be covered, there are still hundreds of thousands of Floridians who will not be covered under the legislation, such as those with HIV/Aids, Alzheimer'’s, dementia, mental disabilities (post-traumatic stress disorder), and others.

"We are following this story intensely,"” said Cohn, "and we have outlined some items we believe the public should be aware of. As we get closer to the Nov. 2 ballot initiative, we will be commenting on how the legalization of marijuana for medical use will impact the state of Florida; including Florida’'s economy, health-care system, the travel industry, and so forth."

He said the FloridaMarijuanaInfo.org mission is to provide the most accurate and useful information about marijuana, with a specific focus on Florida. The group strongly encourages the public to interact with their online community through the forum, comments sections, and blog.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. 


Comments (4)

Tea Pot Party
5:25PM JUN 17TH 2014
Medical Marijuana Patients demand respect...!
VOTE Yes on 2
HELP US Veterans with PTSD...!
9:43AM JUN 17TH 2014
the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

ENLIGHTENMENT...i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old...i hated gays, immigrants, women's rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh's #1 fan....until i smoked marijuana....changed the world

1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed...

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country(now the majority), from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions
Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: MillionsDeaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever

8:36AM JUN 17TH 2014
This bill has been sitting on Scott's desk for around a month and a half waiting for his signature, what took so long? He was in no rush to aid the children as he now claims to be. Look at his dirty politics through his nasty campaign spots on his commercials about Charlie Christ. Read the stories about Scott cutting college tuition and how he's cutting the high cost of college education. Hey Scott, if you cut the tuition it won't be long and Florida's colleges and Universities will be like America's infrastructure, one big worn out crumbling disaster. College will be like K - 12 and we all know what a disaster our K - 12 schools are. You cut the cost of tuition when the cost of living increases your gonna have to cut other costs, that being maintenance or education. Just going around campaigning B.S. feelie good stuff needs to stop, we want answers to problems not a gallon of bondo patch that is no better than a cheap band-aide.
6:16PM JUN 16TH 2014
We are fortunate here in Florida to have a choice, between a severe restrictive half-measure and Amendment 2 which will legalize all strains of Medical Marijuana. There are thousands of our fellow Floridians who continue to suffer until Amendment 2 is voted in and the regulations are actually written. The anti-medical groups are already lying by describing what will happen, before the supporting laws and regulations have even been written. Desperation for the status quo and hypocritical. If you are against obamacare and see it as intrusion into your healthcare how can you support Florida being between a Doctor and Patient as the politicians in Tally are doing? It is hypocritical to demand Your rights while you deny someone else theirs. Please Vote YES on Amendment 2 and legalize ALL strains of Medical Marijuana. Thank You

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