Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a bill Monday he calls "a robust and free-market regulatory approach to the governance of cultivation, processing, and retail sale of medical marijuana in Florida."
SB 852, like measures Brandes has supported in the past, will allow qualified patients with a range of conditions or symptoms to access medical marijuana if recommended by their physician.
The bill licenses cultivation, processing, and retail facilities and -- important to note -- fully replaces the existing Charlotte’s Web licensing system.
“This legislation recognizes the growing support in Florida for the medicinal use of marijuana as an additional option for physicians in the treatment of their patients,” Brandes said in a written statement. "We build on the best practices of the 23 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. The bill creates a responsible regulatory framework, offers patients with debilitating conditions access to this course of treatment, and it focuses funding on valuable medical research."
The legislation allows a patient with either a specified medical condition or a specified symptom to use medical marijuana as recommended by their physician.
Brandes said the legislation establishes rigorous requirements over the medical marijuana distribution system, including product tracking and independent laboratory testing.
He notes that all state tax revenues raised from the sale of medical marijuana are designated for medical research focused on the use of marijuana by patients.
Last session a Brandes bill allowing broad use of medical marijuana got nowhere.
In an April 2015 interview, Brandes told James Call, "Florida voters voted in what is the ultimate poll. They actually went to the polls and took the temperature of the state of Florida on medical marijuana and 58 parent said they supported expanding medical marijuana.
"That gives me a good reason to look at this legislatively and look at all the 23 other states that have medical marijuana on their books and try to bring the best of those to Florida so that we can have the discussion inside the Legislature."
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