Florida Medical Cannabis Collective: 03.13.2019 Update – SB182 Passes Florida House, Florida’s Faulted 15

Good evening (or morning, afternoon, night) to all of you! Today, March 13 2019, has been another monumental day in the history of the Florida cannabis industry. This afternoon, the Florida House of Representatives voted 101-11 in favor of passing Senate Bill 182 (SB 182), a measure to legalize smokable cannabis and raw cannabis flower sales for medical cannabis patients in Florida. This means that both the Senate and House passed SB 182 – the Senate did so last Thursday as the bill passed 34-4.

The next (and final) step is for Governor Ron Desantis to sign SB182 into law, and the current speculation is that he will do so rather quickly. We may see the bill signed as early as tomorrow, or on Friday, March 15 – the original deadline that the Governor set for the Florida Legislature to pass a bill such as SB 182.

SB 182 Recap

  • 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.

Significant changes on the horizon for Florida cannabis patients

This is great news for us, the patients. Say goodbye to the tedious ceramic pods, and the days of only select MMTCs offering flower. We will soon be able to buy cannabis flower that we can actually see in the dispensary, just like almost every other state that has legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. Forget the days of feeling like a criminal because you chose to take your medication via the route that works the best for you, if smoking is your choice route of administration. And eventually, as more competition will inevitably enter the flower market – say goodbye to $55 being the standard price for an eighth of medicinal cannabis in Florida.

The biggest question for most of us is when we will be able to walk into our dispensary of choice and purchase raw flower. This is purely speculation now as many of us are unsure how far the dispensaries have gotten with any prior approval for containers to house smokable cannabis, how long it will take for industry standards and regulations to be set, how long it takes the various Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers to roll out products that comply with those standards, and a host of other variables. Various social media shows patients speculating anywhere from next week to the end of 2019 before we are able to purchase raw flower. My personal estimate would place this time somewhere between mid July and mid August, but only time and developments to this story will truly reveal the answer. One thing is for certain: things are about to get much better for us.

Florida’s Faulted 15

Unfortunately, every success story must have its antagonists. If we total the 112 members of the House of Representatives and the 38 members of the Senate who voted for (or against) SB182, we total 150 voting members. Of those 150: a total of 15, or 10 percent, voted against the bill; all things considered, we can only summarize this as a vote against the patients of Florida from the 15 who chose to vote “nay”.

Since 2016, we have made it very clear that nearly 3/4 (or more!) of voting citizens in Florida feel that cannabis should be legalized for medical purposes – fully. Attorney John Morgan has led a valiant movement in support of our right to smoke our cannabis as it was originally intended in the constitutional amendment, and many politicians have finally seen and agreed with what should be common sense: cannabis is medicine, and Floridians have a right to use it instead of toxic chemicals/pharmaceuticals. Yet, 15 of the individuals we elected to represent us chose to go completely against our right to fully choose how we administrate our medication.

At the Collective, we believe in the power of the people through knowledge and education, so we’re sharing the 15 individuals we’ve chosen to label as Florida’s Faulted 15. We chose this title because their votes against SB182 alone do not determine that they are unethical, immoral, or “evil” people, but they are surely faulted for their actions of ignorance and/or intolerance.

Senate

Keith Perry, R – Gainesville

Doug Broxson, R – Gulf Breeze 

George Gainer, R – Panama City

Ed Hooper, R – Clearwater

House

Thad Altman, R – Rockledge

Mike Belran, R – Lithia

Chuck Clemons, R – Newberry

Jason Fischer, R – Jacksonville

Clay Yarborough, R – Jacksonville

Erin Grall, R – Vero Beach

Mike Hill, R – Pensacola

Mel Ponder, R – Destin

Ardian Zika, R – Land o’ Lakes

Jackie Toledo, R – Tampa

James Bush III, D – Miami

If these politicians voted against your interests, be sure you help spread awareness with those who share your beliefs, and ensure that these officials don’t get re-elected in 2020. They have no right to dictate what is or isn’t our medicine – that’s up to us and our doctors.

Closing Thoughts

As we’ve been saying since the first weekly update on January 1 of this year, 2019 is a significant year for the history and development of Florida’s cannabis industry. We are experiencing the last days of the industry as it has been since 2017. Here at the Collective, we eagerly anticipate the next phase of evolution for our industry, and today was a major catalyst in setting off that evolution. As soon as Governor Desantis signs SB182, it effectively becomes law; after that, this cannabis journey in Florida is about to pick up a lot of speed. We hope you’re as ready as we are for this very positive step forward!

Be sure to join our email subscriber list and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with all the latest in the Florida medical cannabis industry! Don’t forget to join our email subscriber list as well; this will ensure that you stay up-to-date will all develops in the Collective and the Florida medical cannabis industry! You can find a quick-subscribe button in the righthand column on this site.

One thought on “Florida Medical Cannabis Collective: 03.13.2019 Update – SB182 Passes Florida House, Florida’s Faulted 15

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