Good evening everyone! Hope all of you have been having a great start to the month of March. It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the end of Q1 2019; with that, we also near the March 15 deadline that Governor Ron Desantis gave to the Florida Legislature (House and Senate) to pass a bill regulating smokable medical cannabis in the state.
Today was a monumental day for the future of the Florida medical cannabis industry, as Senate Bill 182 (SB182) passed in a 34-4 landslide. A couple of takeaways from today’s session:
- Smoking route can be ordered up to six 35-day supplies (equivalent to the current standard of three 70-day supplies for every other route of administration)
- Each 35-day supply allows up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower for each patient, or a half ounce of flower per week. There can be special exceptions made through the Department of Health, as there are already exceptions for the other routes.
- Patients can carry up to four ounces of marijuana flower on their person
- Marijuana flower can be sold in many forms – not restricted to prerolled joints
- Medical marijuana delivery devices intended for smoking need not be purchased from a dispensary. Unfortunately, this does not apply for vaporization devices; apparently this was a compromise that the House demanded. I personally expect this to be disputed in some way through time. It makes absolutely zero sense, given that the same legislature fought against smoking for so long. Why “open the floodgates” for smoking paraphernalia, but not allow it for vaporization devices? What is the “boogeyman” here?
- Patients under 18 may not smoke cannabis, unless they have a terminal illness and are signed off by a second doctor under similar conditions to the current “Right to Try” act.
The Florida House will vote on SB182 (or their new version of the House Bill which should be identical to SB182) next week. One Reddit user pointed out that SB182 was placed on the House Schedule for 03.13.2019, so perhaps this will be the day that they pass it and send it to Governor Desantis’ desk. Currently, speculation is that the House will pass the bill; most legislative members seem to project the attitude that they are ready to “fry the other fish” in Florida and move on from this discussion.
After the House passes the bill, Governor Desantis will almost certainly sign off on SB182 and the House equivalent to SB182, and the industry will have to figure out how to regulate and accommodate itself to these massive changes.
Who voted against us?
Of almost equal importance, in my opinion, is to remember the unsympathetic and unethical individuals who voted against the patients. Who voted against our access? Who voted against our right to smoke our medicine, while cancerous cigarettes and other smokable tobacco fly off the shelves in Florida every day? The hypocrisy is painful, and begs the question of what sort of ties these senators have to Big Tobacco; at the very least, why do they seemingly lack the empathy and compassion to see the harm their views (and votes) cause to so many patients? Thankfully, of 38 senators, only 4 of them tried to hold us back from our medication yet again.
Here they are. Remember their names. They don’t deserve our votes in 2020.
Keith Perry, R – Gainesville
Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze
George Gainer, R-Panama City
Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater
Spread awareness of these type of politicians. Let voters know how they voted against hundreds of thousands of sick and injured patients in the State of Florida. It’s time we start holding people accountable for their harmful actions.
This month is a defining one for our state’s cannabis industry. Pay close attention to what happens over the next several weeks and months – history is being made.
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