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Politics

'Restrictive' Medical Marijuana Bill Sails Through House Committee

March 28, 2017 - 5:30pm

A Florida House committee decided to move ahead with one of the strictest proposals to regulate medical marijuana in the Sunshine State on Tuesday, much to the chagrin of pro-pot advocates who have criticized the bill for going against the wants and desires of Florida voters. 

By a 14-1 vote, the House Health Quality subcommittee approved a measure which would have widespread limitations on how Florida patients consume medical pot. 

Not only would smokeable cannabis be banned, but patients would also be barred from buying more than a 90-day supply of marijuana, edibles would be off-limits and “vaping” would only be allowed for terminal patients. 

The way pot is ingested wouldn’t be the only way HB 1397, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, would regulate the drug. The proposal also pushes limitations on dispensaries distributing medical pot as well. 

Florida’s current seven dispensaries would be given first dibs on selling medical pot -- after 150,000 patients enroll in the medical marijuana registry, the department would then, and only then, open up licensing to the second round of dispensaries. 

After 200,000 patients register, the state would license five additional medical marijuana treatment centers, and allow three more for each 100,000 patients after that.

Medical pot users must also be Florida residents and register with the Florida Department of Health to get a medical marijuana card, which would be provided to patients after they had been seen by the same doctor for 90 days.

Under the new law, patients’ medical marijuana licenses aren’t permanent, either -- they can easily be yanked if they are charged with a drug offense or if they are somehow “cured” of their debilitating ailment, which include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Crohn’s disease and a handful of other conditions approved under Amendment 2. 

Last fall, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to expand the use of medical marijuana in Florida. Seventy-one percent of voters voted in favor of Amendment 2, which is required to be fully implemented this year. 

Pro-pot groups and medical cannabis advocates have criticized Rodrigues’ bill for being “too restrictive” and have advocated shutting down the legislation outright in favor of other “free market” bills like the one sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. 

“Nothing good can come from it,” Gulf Coast Canna Meds founder Tom Murphy said on the bill. “This bill enshrines the seven cartels and totally closes out any free enterprise people.”

Ben Pollara of United For Care, the group largely responsible for helping pass Amendment 2, said he hoped the bill would need to be amended significantly to make it palatable for pro-cannabis groups.

"HB 1397 would place such onerous and arbitrary barriers to access on medical marijuana patients that it's practical effect would be to virtually negate the law passed by 71 percent of Floridians," he told Sunshine State News.

Pollara also criticized the bill for receiving support from anti-drug groups and Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF), a group founded by Amendment 2 foe and Republican Party megadonor Mel Sembler. 

"[DFAF executive director] Calvina Fay showed up today to express her support for the bill and thank the sponsor for including so many of her suggestions," Pollara said. "It is more than a little mind boggling that one of the most prominent opponents of the Amendment's passage would have such an outsized role in its implementation."

Other proposals moving through the House would give DFAF $500,000 to "educate" Floridians on medical marijuana, something Pollara finds unsettling.

"The notion that folks like Fay, the Semblers and DFAF are helping to write this legislation and potentially receiving a $500,000 appropriation to 'educate' Floridians on medical marijuana makes me sick to my stomach," Pollara said. "It's really a slap in the face to sick and suffering patients in Florida."

Rodrigues doesn’t see it that way, and instead believes his bill is following the letter of federal law to protect Florida from federal prosecution regarding national marijuana laws. 

“I believe this is a measured approach to faithfully implement Amendment 2,” he explained. 

The bill needs approval from two other House committees before heading to the floor for a full vote.

 

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

 

Comments

My name is Debra Warren, i am from Florida USA. I never knew cannabis oil was indeed wonderful and very effective in treating canceer diseases.’ To hell with the government and their insane policy,if not for the government and their so called rules in regulating cannabis my husband would have still been alive. Thanks to the newly policy for legalizing cannabis in my state i would have also lost my son to kidney cancer, i was really touched and surprised when i watched lots of documentary on how cannabis oil had helped lot of people whom their family members never thought they could make it after undergoing several ”Chemo”. From the dept of my heart i must say a word of appreciation to the Rick Simpson Team for the timely intervention in the life of my son suffering from Kidney Cancer. as i am writing this testimony on this Blog my Son is so strong and healthy in spite he hasn’t completed the total Dosage’ for your cannabis and medical consultation and information on how to get the oil try and get in touched with the Rick Simpson Team through email: info.rickcannabis10@yahoo.com CALL OR TEXT:::: (+1) 989-941-3969 so he can enlighten you more. Feeling so Delighted. Debra Warren...

The way I see it, we have power and power comes in numbers and we have it. Find the names of each and every person who voted for this miserable settlement and let 71% of Florida’s voters vote against them in the next election. Find the things they stand for and do not support it. This country is a mess.

In theory, and without any doubt you are 100% correct. Now. How do we mobilize these folks??

What they want is to taxes it so they will have more money. To the Wealthy People in Government it about money like they don't have enough. They live off tax Payer and don't spend their money and they give more to those that come here. The American People live in Florida voted for Medical Marijuana. But those in Government only want thing their way. I know People that been smoking it for over Thirty years and been to the doctor just a few time. They look great and health.

Oh, well I guess people in Florida are going to continue acquiring it the old fashion way. less taxes to collect. use your head silly!

""Consider that Rodrigues is also the sponsor of a bill that could impose barriers to rooftop solar installation. This comes after Florida voters not only overwhelmingly passed a solar-friendly amendment in the August primary but also rejected FPL and other utility companies' $25 million effort to fool Floridians into voting for an anti-solar bill on the November ballot. It's more proof that lawmakers don't have your back."

Here is Rays phone number give him a call 2394336501 government is supposed to be for the people of the People by the people over 14 million Floridians voted yes on 2 this does not represent you whose interest does he have at heart

Here is the man that led the vote why don't everybody give him a call and let them know what they think Ray Rodriguez http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4572

"Recovery and Rehabilitation" is a multi-billion dollar INDUSTRY.... just saying... "CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the brain in the basal ganglia and the hippocampus. They are also found in the cerebellum, and the male and female reproductive organs. The CB1 receptor is associated with feelings of euphoria, and it also has plays a role in anticonvulsive pathways. The places where these receptors are absent are the medulla oblongata and the brain stem. The brainstem and medulla oblongata are responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory functions; not having the cannabinoid receptor would leave them completely unaffected by THC, or any other cannabinoid. The lack of cannabinoid receptors on the medulla also might suggest why there has never been a case of overdose of THC, regardless of the amount consumed or the method of consumption. Likewise, there is a lack of cannabinoid receptors on the mesocorticolimbic pathway means that there is a significantly decreased chance of physical addiction because a dopaminergic pathway is not involved."

Between the failure to address water and this, I foresee Democratic majorities in our future. They are beholden to a few donors and that is it. They don't even pretend to represent the will of the people.

need to pass the word and no longer allow the masses to be swayed by bogus political advertising

all this got me thinking, I now believe Florida lawmakers will never allow us to even try MM, where are the voices of all the wounded and maimed vets that made it out of Iraq and Afghanistan, As a sufferer of chronic debilitating pain, as well as chronic PTSD I have had my pain meds taken away because a doctor with an axe to grind wrote an opinion paper for the CDC and DEA implemented it as (guideline) policy, (illegally passed quazi Law or what). This new policy makes it impossible for anyone in USA to be prescribed or dispensed more than 90mg of morphine a day. for the past 20+ years I had been prescribed about 900mg a day, this reduction has once again turned my life upside down leaving me in crippeling pain once again My doctor who is one of the most respected pain treatment experts in the USA has encouraged my idea to travel to Colorado to see if some of these specialized strains might help. Lets do the math, pain patients in other states report that 1 to 2 grams a day of certain strains of MM helps them live without so much pain,---lets look at some numbers just for legitimate chronic pain sufferers, My doctors group has aprox 7500 patients and covers 1/4 to 1/3 (just a guess) of my county in FL. There are 67 counties in FL. lets be conservative and say just as a guess there are 10,000 legitimate chronic pain patients in each county. that's 670,000 this is just one condition where MM may help some people, where did the lawmakers get their number of 200,000 How many doctors are on the current MM certified list? Most modern doctors I would estimate have maybe 1000-1500 patients, but I'm not an expert just guessing from the past 35 years spending probably 1/6 to 1/8th of each year in one doctors office or another being poked, prodded, cut, stuck, injected and being generally practiced on. there are more than 20 million people in Florida 90 day supply= 180 grams 180 grams X 200,000 7 suppliers? we need to get a new law passed that allows growing your own for people that doctors allow MM use, Our freedoms as citizens of USA have been severely restricted, Lets remind out elected officials that they were elected to serve us the people, not just a few special select special interests.

we need to organize, they have taken our pain meds away and want us to dole out cash for MM, it can't be prescribed and prescription insurance will not pay for it as the insurance has paid for pain meds. Florida MM amendment is turning into a cash grab for a very few connected entities, How are you supposed to take MJ if you don't smoke, vape or put it in edible. What a Joke Rodriquez proposal is. Since 2014 only 2300 people have actually been allowed to use MM under the compasionate use law, there are more than 2300 hospices in Florida. What a joke, florida politicians are going to make it impossible for any of us to even try MM. I'm moving as quick as I can but because I'm disabled is is a very slow process. The people we elected don't care about us and we need to drain the swamp, completely, next election

Florida has a corrupt government! Someone needs to organize a massive PROTEST. The federal government distributes marijuana in the form of cigarettes to patients and has been for over 30 years. How can we as citizens just stand by and let this nonsense continue? Here is a link to see hundreds of articles showing that they do this: To all those who in the House Health Quality subcommittee, may you and your loved ones learn the importance of medical marijuana first hand. And have to leave the state to get natural healthcare.

Just saw a promo piece today that says the dad has just approved a synthetic pot medication. This is what big pharma has been waiting for...a way they can control and charge for something you can grow in your backyard!

Medical Marijuana was never and will never be about anything other than more government powers...if MM users need m.j. buy from the cartels in mexico and the u.s., they are no worse than self serving politicians who must have their say in what is correct for everyone but themselves. When the dummies saw how much money could be embezzled with regulation, all of a sudden it dawned on them that they, not being beholden to the laws they create out of their asses could profit millions with just a little investment of the free cash we are extorted to pay their fat salary awarded them to remind us that we just are not smart enough to manage our own lives...I expect no less from the ticks who will get to regulateN.C.'s ballot initiative currently on this years ballot.

Just another example of what our government has become and it's not in our favor. The GOP has become the party of money first and the people last. 71% of Floridians voted in favor of the use of medical marijuana. The GOP lost the fight against the law so right in plain sight for everyone to see they are doing their level best to regulate it to make it almost impossible to get the marijuana and if they can regulate the law out of existence.

Sembler and Fay could not defeat amendment 2 at the ballot box so they have paid off politicians to thwart the will of the people. This is a prime example of corruption at it's slimmest. Let we the people voice our displeasure with corruption through donations or out right bribes to our representatives, follow the money. Floridians we need to contact Florida Attorney Generals office to start an investigation into bribing legislatures involved in implementation of amendment 2. Floridians need to call the attorney general now before it is too late.

you ppl crack me up, you go vote for these republican assholes and then expect them to look out for you. THEY ONLY LOOK OUT FOR THEIR CORPORATE BUDDIES. if you continue to vote republican, you are getting EXACTLY what you voted for.

Ok so I take this as no medical marijuana? Due to man made synthetic drugs that are killing my liver and kidneys I will die young or in my 50's which I will be 50 next month. I have non alcoholic liver disease and kidneys slowly dieing due to pain medication for cervical and spinal stinosis. I'm not ignert I just don't understand some things I read here. So it's legal but it's not? This is very confusing to me, I thought when I voted I would be able to flush these drugs down the toilet and get meds that has been growing for years, God's medication but what I read is that it's ok to pay hundreds a month for medication that is legal and killing me instead of growing natural medicine that would help me and only cost a fraction of the other, something​ is wrong here.

I too have non -alco. liver cancer & if you think I'm sitting around with this good ole boy bullshit forget it, this is not what I voted for at all, at this time what with 14 different meds a day it leaves me little choice but to continue to self medicate, if that means arrest so be it now they can pay for ALL of my treatment.

Vote them out and send a message.

50,000 people a year die from alcohol poisoning. That staggering number does not include alcohol related accidents. 6 million people a year die directly because of cigarettes. Anyone over 21 can obtain both. Marijuana has not been proven to kill a single person, but it has provided local government with an endless supply of income. Over 600,00 minor marijuana arrests made in 2016. Its time to legalize fully or at least decriminalize country wide so our law enforcement can get back to protecting and serving.

This is the sneaky way that big pharmaceutical companies protect themselves from losing big money, the vote done at night, I'm sure someone's pocket was heavy by the end of this ridiculous act, big pharmaceutical companies can't control medical marijuana so they place road blocks at every turn, why is big pharmaceutical developing a fake version of marijuana and not using the real thing? It's all about the money and control,

no smoking, no edibles, no vaping,. what ! I'm supposed to stick it up my ass in a suppository????

You can go to Truelieve.com to find out how its can be purchased currently. And for the RECORD its WAY to eXpensive for every day people to purchase as suggested. It comes in a OIL with dropper , it comes in oil in a capsule , and for terminal ill people it can be vaped ONLY. A vape pen is $20 and ONE cartridge is $37 then if you have to have it delivered its an extra $25 cash only at the door

I hope this message of discontent and disgust reaches the eyes and ears of legislature that is formulating this stupid plan for medical marijuana administration. WE VOTED for this to be legalized, now what exactly don't you understand? This medicine helps SO MANY people and your restrictions on how it is distributed is offensive. Empathy is the most important human trait, and you lack it so I would consider your ignorance inhumane. You have no idea what it's like until it happens to you. I hope you are voted out of office and you choke on your regret. You won't have my vote and I think 71% more Floridians agree with me as well, idiots.

I am writing this letter to the State of Florida Representatives in an effort to inform them of another example of good citizens leaving Florida to other states that have passed medical marijuana laws. We are the patients and caregivers that have made the hard decision to leave our communities, jobs and families to obtain the medicine we need and deserve safe access to. Now that Florida’s new amendment 2 passed with overwhelming support we have returned to discover it has been gutted by the powers that be in the Department of Health and the law does not fully serve the patients recommended use of the medicinal plant in its most natural form. My husband has used cannabis for decades to relieve many conditions and when he discussed the use of the plant for his chronic conditions, the Florida doctor released him from his care and left him no choice, even suggested, to leave the state for that ONE reason. We moved to California for over two years, at considerable expense, and now find intolerable restrictions on medical cannabis for his prescribed medical marijuana treatment plan. PLEASE STOP THESE Restrictive Bills that will only keep the patients criminals for just needing their medicine!

This is what you get when you depend on democracy in a republic. The lawmakers did not want to do this and the voters forced them by passing an amendment. Floridians are getting what they deserve!!!

EAT a DICK!

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