Enthusiasm Immediate for Light-Strain Senate-Companion Medical Marijuana Bill
Around the State
To the relief of perhaps thousands of Florida families dealing with severe neurological conditions like epilepsy, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, filed SB 1030 Wednesday.
The bill also eliminates the legal jeopardy that has forced Floridians to seek treatment in other states such as Colorado.
In fact, SB 1030 already has a key endorsement. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville told his Northwest Florida constituents in an email Wednesday that he will support and vote for the bill because he was taken with the stories of parents of profoundly epileptic children who spoke at a committee meeting.
“As a father myself, I am unwilling to require these parents to be criminals in order to get treatment for their children,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Peyton Moseley of Pensacola, who earlier this year took his daughter to Colorado for treatment, said, "We are grateful to Sens. Bradley, Brandes, and Bean for filing this lifesaving bill in the Senate today.
"Their compassion and understanding of the difference Charlotte's Web can make in the treatment of our daughter RayAnn and tens of thousands of other Floridians suffering with severe epilepsy gives us hope for our daughter's future."
Moseley is founder of Caring 4 Florida, a nonprofit organization fighting to improve the lives of those living with epilepsy in Florida through education and advocacy for the use of non-euphoric cannabis.
Senators say SB 1030 provides a framework for the production and distribution of nonsmokable strains of cannabis with high concentrations of CBD, the medicinal component of cannabis, and low levels (0.05 percent) of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. A hybrid strain with similar concentrations known as “Charlotte’s Web” has been reported to provide relief from serious illnesses, including for children suffering from daily seizures associated with epilepsy.
Said Bradley, “Charlotte’s Web helps patients improve their quality of life and offers hope to parents desperate to provide relief to their children. While many Floridians have significant concerns about medical marijuana being misused, SB 1030 offers a new opportunity for Floridians who have not found relief with current medications.”
“This is completely different from what the public knows about marijuana,” said co-sponsor Bean. “I’m excited about the possibility of ending seizures in medically challenged kids.”
The unique hybrid strain, originally referred to as “Hippie’s Disappointment,” offers the therapeutic benefits of CBD without getting patients “high,” the senators point out.
“As a father, I would go to any length to ease the suffering of one of my children,” said co-sponsor Brandes. “The state of Florida shouldn’t force parents to choose between leaving our state and comforting an ailing child.”
Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, who with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, authored House companion bill HB 843, expressed her enthusiasm Wednesday for SB 1030, and her wish that the Senate bill will become a wide, bipartisan success.
"Just as Chairman Gaetz is doing, I hope that Sen. Bradley will work across the aisle in the same fashion to make this a true bipartisan bill that enjoys a fair and rigorous debate in the Senate.
"I am wholeheartedly encouraged that so many legislators are taking an interest in the value of cannabis-based therapies for Florida's patients," Edwards said.
Bradley said he looks at the language filed Wednesday as the starting point of a conversation about how the Legislature should adjust Florida laws to reflect new advancements in treatment. "The sponsors in the Senate and House share the goal of providing relief to Floridians in need," he said. "As these bills move through the legislative process we will continue to work with medical experts and patients to find the best option for Florida.”
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