Senate Committee Approves Low-Dose Medical Marijuana Bill

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: March 24, 2014 6:15 PM
Medical marijuana

A bill to legalize a special strain of low-dose medical marijuana passed through the Senate Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Monday, inching medicinal marijuana one step closer to legalization in the state of Florida.

Several parents of epileptic children testified to convince members of the committee that medicinal marijuana would help their children and thousands more living with epilepsy lead more normal lives. Their stories were stories of pain and suffering and the endless search to find relief for the medical problems ailing them for many years. 

Ryan Roman, who was diagnosed with spinal cancer in 2005, spoke at length about the benefits medical marijuana has had on his own life. With ongoing use of low-dose medical marijuana, his once-large tumors began to shrink, and Roman felt relief for the first time in years.

Roman says he still feels like a criminal, however, when he goes to get the medicine he needs to feel well because it’s not legal in Florida. His eyes watering, he explained he just wants to find relief from his medical issues. 

“I’m not a criminal,” he tearfully told the committee.

SB 1030, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, would allow legalization for patients listed in a statewide "compassionate use" registry.

Only physicians, however, could decide whose names go into the registry; and the physicians would include only the names of individuals who have been cleared for low-THC treatment. The bill would require doctors to keep careful records of how effective the treatment is because they would be required to submit detailed quarterly reports to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy.

The Senate bill differs slightly from its House companion, HB 843, in several ways. The Senate bill would allow patients to ingest the medical marijuana medication by vapor, a form of intake not mentioned in the House bill.

Under SB 1030, the plant extract would be limited to no more than 0.5 percent THC (the euphoric component) and at least 15 percent CBD (the beneficial component), and would be available from up to four dispensaries statewide.

The House bill, on the other hand, would stipulate that strains of marijuana with 0.8 percent or less of the psychoactive component of marijuana and more than 10 percent of the plant’s CBD strain would be legal -- as will its seeds.

The Senate's support of the bill is hardly surprising -- it was expected to be the friendlier chamber to the legislation.

Many details still have to be worked out for medical marijuana in Florida -- especially on the House side -- but lawmakers who support the bills say they do so because they truly believe the measure will provide a genuine good for the suffering people of Florida. 

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen. 

Comments (6)

Chris barnhart
2:49PM MAR 28TH 2014
Hoping someone can help me understand Fl law.
What comes next after bill was passed? Another commitee? Now Is it law?
10:52AM MAR 25TH 2014
Ask Attorney John Morgan and a few of the other lawmakers that said they either gave or saw there relatives use marijuana when they were sick and how the marijuana seemed to make the pain go away or that the pain subsided. Caution: they did not use this Charlottes web low .05 THC watered down marijuana that has to go through a process to change from plant to oil. They used the good old black market marijuana. Our public officials need to be removed from office ASAP because they lie and deceive the public. The so called charlottes web marijuana is only good for the very few children that have the very rare epilepsy strain, not all children that have epilepsy. This Charlottes web has no health benefits for adults at least at this time no scientific proof. Read the other blogs. These State officials are counting on this charlottes web to be the medical marijuana for amendment #2 on the ballot this November Bull Crapping the voters from the truth. This November vote "yes on" amendment #2 and vote "no" for those like Matt Gaetz and his followers that wants charlottes web .05 THC as Florida's medical marijuana. We the people want High THC along with High CBD for our adult medicines. We do not want Children's aspirin for adults.
10:11AM MAR 25TH 2014
While I hope this law will help some of those in need, it is a partisan political attempt to derail Medical Marijuana and Amendment 2. This is an attempt by lawmakers to "legalize" the only strain that, in their view, has "medical use". It never would have been considered except for Amendment 2. Anything less than what is legalized by Amendment 2 is shameful. I would also point out that the bill under consideration allows doctors to write scripts, which was one of the republican complaints about Medical Marijuana. Hypocrits abound in the GOP. I ask that everyone Vote YES on Amendment 2. Thank you
Fran k
8:09AM MAR 25TH 2014
Medicine? Why not just legalize it? It is NO MORE dangerous than tobacco and alcohol. What a stupid hypocritical culture we live within.

But then, we are controlled by a PATHETIC government so we should not expect much.
10:14PM MAR 24TH 2014
Florida's legislators need to pass legislation for all the medicine for all the patients. The Cathy Jordan medical cannabis Act is the best legislation ever written for medical use and ignoring it does no one justice, especially the 1.6 plus Million patient the Florida State Health Official determined have ailment that are known to benefit from cannabis.

I watched the House Appropriations meeting. As Representative Rouson was telling the story about asking his son what he would do if offered cannabis, I was at first pleased, the boy knows the truth. As he spoke further I wondered why a parent would want the government to continue a lie. What does that teach the children? We should be taking the responsible steps accepting the science of medical value, and by legalizing cannabis for medicine, we are teaching that mistakes are made and owning up to it with the truth is the best, not continuing to lie when the truth is out.
7:48PM MAR 24TH 2014

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