A Florida Senate committee unanimously passed a plan to regulate Florida’s newly expanded medical marijuana industry on Monday.
SB 406, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, altered his bill slightly to incorporate what he called “the will of the voters” and to make it more palatable for senators and pro-pot groups alike.
On Friday, bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, filed eight different amendments to alter his original proposal.
One of the new amendments would create a coalition for medical marijuana research through Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Center and Research Institute, one of the top medical research centers in the state.
The goal of the coalition, according to the amendment, is to conduct “rigorous scientific research,” and to “guide policy” for the adoption of a statewide policy on ordering and dosing practices for medical marijuana.
An education board, appointed by Dr. Alan List, the chief executive officer of the Moffitt Cancer Center, will adopt a plan for medical marijuana research in Florida. By Feb. 15 of each year, the board would need to report to the governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House on research projects, community outreach initiatives and future plans of the coalition in regards to medical marijuana.
Nonresidents would also be allowed to apply to receive medical marijuana in Florida as long as they are able to get medical marijuana in their home state and qualify in Florida.
Another amendment would require the Department of Health to have computer software system to track marijuana from “seed to sale,” following pot as it’s planted and distributed to patients statewide.
A separate amendment would require an independent laboratory to test medical marijuana before it is distributed to suffering patients in Florida. Patients would also be allowed to increase their supply from 45 to 90 days or even more than 90 days with a doctor’s approval.
Bradley’s original proposal would also increase the cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries, expanding the number of businesses by five more when the state has 250,000 patients, 350,000 patients, 400,000 patients and then every 100,000 thereafter.
At least one of the five dispensaries would have to be a black-owned company according to a new amendment.
Meanwhile, another, more restrictive proposal to regulate medical pot has been making its way through the House of Representatives. That measure, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, would ban smokeable marijuana as well as prohibit edibles and vaping.
The House bill would also limit the number of growers in the state, resulting in far fewer growers.
Pro-medical marijuana advocates have railed against Rodrigues’ bill, saying it shuts out free market growers and goes against the will of Florida voters, who passed Amendment 2 to expand medical marijuana by 71 percent.
The bill will now head to the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee for approval.