Florida has approved medical marijuana legislation that would allow terminally ill patients access to medical cannabis, which is being referred to as the “Right to Try” act.
Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Matt Gaetz sponsored the bill (HB 307).
“We can finally deliver on the promise we made to those suffering families two years ago. The delays are over,”
Indeed, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act passed in 2014 promised a conservative medical marijuana program for patients in Florida, but was plagued with legal challenges in a state that has no interest in creating a cannabis industry.
“Today was an important step to take back control of the situation and get it into the hands of families as soon as possible,” said Bradley. Governor Rick Scott office worked with legislators to craft an acceptable version of the bill, which he ultimately signed.
Critics of the bill are skeptical that the new bill will continue to cause legal complications, which will further stall medical marijuana efforts.
“Unfortunately, because of the persistent ineptitude of the state legislature, there are presently zero eligible medical marijuana patients in the state. The bill’s passage today is merely more lipstick on the pig that is Tallahassee’s failed medical marijuana.”
The new legislation will allow patients to consume non-smokeable forms of cannabis produced from strains that are higher in CBD and low in THC (hemp). The language of the new law also permits manufacturers to produce concentrates using the whole plant, like CBD oil which can be vaporized or ingested. Five cultivation licenses have been issued so far. There are also provisions for proper labeling and penalties to doctors who wrongly prescribe cannabis.
Up to 250,000 Florida patients will be able to participate in the program. Should more patients qualify, the program would authorize permits to more dispensaries and cultivators to accommodate the expansion.
Although the current program is modest, there are plans for a larger medical marijuana program that will appear on the ballot in November. The proposed constitutional amendment would be similar to Colorado’s Amendment 64, but would not legalize recreational marijuana.