Florida Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Medical Marijuana for Special Session


, , , 20 Comments

The Florida Legislature reached an agreement to regulate medical marijuana in Florida resulting in Senator Rob Bradley filing SB-8A. Without this special session bill, the Florida Department of Health would have likely issued unduly restrictive regulations.

The bill calls for 10 new growers to be licensed this year. Five new licenses would go to previous applicants, and the other five would go to new applicants. Additionally, the bill requires four licenses to be issued for every 100,000 patients added to the state’s medical marijuana registry.

Also, the number of dispensaries each grower can open will be capped at 25 – resolving the dispute that prohibited lawmakers from passing a regulation bill during regular session.

While this implementation bill is a huge step in the right direction, there is still work to be done in Florida in the coming months and years. Specifically, the bill does not fully allow patients to decide how to take medical marijuana and advocates in the Sunshine state have expressed a willingness to challenge this issue in court.

The amendment requires laws be in place by July and enacted by October, and because of this special session, it seems that the legislature will meet that target date.

Read More

Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative Endorsed by National and State Epilepsy Foundations


, , , , , , , , 20 Comments

United for Care, the Florida group campaigning to pass an effective medical marijuana ballot initiate on election day, recently announced endorsements from state and national epilepsy organizations.ef

Florida Politics reports:

The Florida Epilepsy Foundation has endorsed proposed Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative on Florida’s Nov. 8 ballot.

“Important medical decisions, such as treatments and medications, should be made by licensed physicians who know their patients best. That’s why the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, along with the national Epilepsy Foundation, supports Amendment 2,” Karen Basha Egozi, chief executive officer of the organization, said Tuesday in a written statement.

“Florida’s epilepsy patients should have available whatever treatment options their doctors recommend, including medical marijuana,” she said.

The proposal would allow cannabis use by people “with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”

It provides legal protections for caregivers helping them administer the drug, subject to oversight by the state Department of Health.

Read More

Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative Makes the Ballot!


, , , , , 20 Comments

Monday brought welcoming news to seriously ill patients in Florida: The Florida Supreme Court declared the medical marijuana constitutional initiative fit for November’s ballot! If passed, this initiative will allow individuals with debilitating conditions to use marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Since this initiative would amend the state’s constitution, it needs 60% support to pass. Please make sure you are registered to vote now, so that your voice will count come November.

Last week, the state confirmed that the campaign, United for Care, had submitted enough valid signatures to make the ballot. The only hurdle left before officially making the ballot was surviving the legal challenge brought by Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi argued the summary of the measure (which was written by its proponents) didn’t accurately explain what the initiative would do. She also claimed the measure violated Florida’s requirement that ballot questions be limited to a single subject. The Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, disagreed.

The Florida Legislature has refused to act on the numerous medical marijuana proposals brought before it by medical marijuana champions. This November, you have the opportunity to bypass the legislature by voting “yes” on medical marijuana, but only if you’re registered to vote. Finally, please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family in Florida.

 

Read More

Congress Tells States They Can Drug Test for Unemployment Benefits


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

Last week, the political blustering of federal lawmakers once again resulted in a law that unfairly targets marijuana users without any proof of effectiveness. On Friday, Congress reached a payroll and benefits deal that allows states to drug test any person applying for unemployment benefits if that person is looking for work in a field where drug testing is commonplace.

Thankfully, states have the option to not take part in this plan. The recent surge in states considering such policies, however, may mean that they may soon become much more common.

Florida’s experience with drug testing people applying for public benefits should have been a wake-up call for lawmakers. After passing a bill requiring unemployment beneficiaries to submit drug tests, Florida authorities soon discovered that not only was drug use extremely rare among those applying for assistance, but drug testing was actually costing the taxpayers more money! The whole point of the law was to decrease costs, so that tough-on-crime politicians could grandstand about how tax dollars in their districts aren’t buying drugs for lazy people.

Congress really needs to stop wasting its time worrying about the tiny percentage of people on public assistance that are marijuana users and instead consider all the taxpayer money they are wasting by arresting people for marijuana use at all.

Read More