Medical Marijuana In Florida Is Essentially Dead…For Now
Cannabis activists and medical marijuana supporters who voted for a state regulated market have had their will tossed away like a piece of trash. Lawmakers in Florida aren’t interested in seeing the sick become well, and they seemingly don’t care about the millions of dollars in revenue it would generate for the state either. The majority conservative House of Representatives gutted the initial bill which was overwhelmingly voted on and passed by the citizens of Florida last November.
Seventy-two percent of voters turned out and sent a clear message to the state that they approve of medical marijuana. The House begrudgingly got to work on crafting a final bill to pass on to the Senate. The state never wanted medical marijuana to begin with, and they needed to find a way to kill it in its track. After debating over the content of the legislation, lawmakers decided they couldn’t come reach an agreement over specific details and therefore the bill was shelved. They had found a technical way to kill medical marijuana.
The Florida Senate proceeded with their own measure this week and overwhelmingly passed a medical marijuana bill. It is extremely restrictive and only allows for ten medical conditions to be treated with cannabis. Still only low THC product will be available unless you are on your death bed. The bill adds ten more providers to list that has been limited to seven. The limitations on who can obtain a growers license has also come under fire, saying that the state is creating their own cartel by only allowing a limited number of operators. None of this really matters anymore, as the conflict in the House resulted in the final say on the matter being tossed to the Department of Health.
What that means is that medical marijuana in Florida just went in a big circle back to the people who have controlled the program from the beginning. They have no intention on expanding the program to include new ailments, nor do they want to increase availability of medical marijuana. The DOH has until July to craft new regulations, however many are already speculating that the new rules will be more restrictive than they currently are. At the moment you can only get medical marijuana in Florida if you are in a wheelchair or dying, and the DOH is quite content with this. Insiders are already foreshadowing a fierce legal battle over the failure of the congress to come together on the issue.
Lawyers and other cannabis activists are calling for a special session of congress to address the failure to pass a bill, but whether or not they will listen is anyone’s guess. Florida has always been a conflicted state, where the young go to enjoy the beaches and nightlife while old conservatives go there to die. The voting population is nearly equally split, however, they weren’t split on marijuana. Unfortunately, the will of the people doesn’t seem to mean much anymore. You can expect the backers of medical marijuana in the state to not stay silent on this one.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.