Florida Senate Panel Approves of Medical Marijuana
March 26th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Senators in Florida voted to let doctors prescribe non-euphoric strains of marijuana for patients suffering from things like seizures or cancer pain after hearing testimony from patients. The bill sponsored by Senators Bean, Brandes and Bradley would strictly control the use of an oil derivative of marijuana that contains no more than 0.5% THC – the element that produces the high of marijuana.
The state has a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot, which was made possible via a public petition rather than the Legislature. If the ballot receives the required 60% popular vote, the Legislature will be tasked with implementing the legislation in 2015. The aforementioned bill is headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee with a companion in the House.
Florida’s move to legalize medical marijuana and related products marks a sharp deviation from the state’s historical stance. The Republican-dominated state has remained largely opposed to measures that have passed in many other states throughout the Union. Many advocates believe that approvals in New Jersey and Florida could be the tipping point the industry needs for federal level talks to start.
“We’re soon to be the third-largest state in the union,” said Louis Rotundo, a lobbyist. “Realistically, we have a diversity of illnesses in this state that seemingly could benefit from a larger application.”
In the end, the current bill could set the stage for future legalization efforts, while the November ballot could ultimately provide a broader legalization mandate.
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