Government

Enthusiasm Immediate for Light-Strain Senate-Companion Medical Marijuana Bill

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: February 12, 2014 3:25 PM
Marijuana

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.

Unlike bipartisan House bill 843, the Senate effort is Republican-led, co-sponsored by Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. It creates a pathway toward legal use of a mild strain of marijuana, processed into an oil extract and administered by placing a droplet under the tongue, avoiding the harmful side effects of smoking the plant itself.

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.”


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


Comments (6)

William Wohlsifer
8:43AM FEB 13TH 2014
I am going to refer to SB 1030 as the "Me Too Bill." It is a sad day in Florida when Democrats and Republicans use medical marijuana as a political football, it is an even sadder day when they use an alleged desire to help the "children suffering" in a bane attempt to win political favor by presenting a bill that has the word "marijuana" in it. The purpose of SB 1030 is provide Republican Senators a basis upon which they can now claim that they support marijuana legislation, too. As the drafter of the original Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act it is clear to me that a person in need of the medicinal benefits of THC and CBD will have a better chance of winning the lottery than they would in obtaining access under proposed SB 1030. Make the right choices in 2014. Learn more about medical marijuana, industrial hemp, and my campaign as Florida's first Libertarian candidate for Attorney General.
Fire
4:33AM FEB 13TH 2014
Legalize and take off prohibition 100%. If those running for office don't support legalization then vote them out of office and elect those that support 100% total legalization of marijuana.
knowa
6:02PM FEB 12TH 2014
Our first drug czar Harry Anslinger 1930's There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
richard arjona
10:50AM FEB 24TH 2014
Uneducated, ignorant, racist!!! You have all these issues and you are worried about marijuana, go get an education then come back and weigh in on the topic..
Witchdoctor
5:28PM FEB 12TH 2014
Witchdoctor fine with natural herbs. He also admire lengths RPOF go thru to neutralize medical marijuana amendment to keep pro-life, Reagan conservative Charlie Crist from winning.
Dean
4:12PM FEB 12TH 2014
I support the effort. Unfortunatly it is misguided and a case of too little, too late. To say this variant has a medical use and no others is wrong. It is an attempt to cut off the medical marijuana admendment. To say we legalized the only variant that has any medical use, while ignoring all the other uses, including control of pain. Lastly,it would be impossible to get Charlottes Web to Florida legally as it is against multiple state and federal law to transport marijuana over state lines. Unfortunatly, all pure partisan politics, of the worst kind.. Shame

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