Florida moving to allow smokable medical marijuana

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By: Capitol News Service
February 13, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) – Florida could soon be dispensing medical marijuana in pre-rolled cigarettes to patients. A House committee Tuesday approved making smokable pot available. Governor Ron Desantis had called for the change and lawmakers are following his lead.

Police were the first to object to smokable marijuana. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke for sheriffs in January 2017 saying, “We don’t think there should be smokable marijuana.”

Now, the man who authored the ban, State Representative Ray Rodriquez, is changing his tune.

“This PCB would allow the smoking of medical marijuana in the form of a pre-rolled, filtered marijuana cigarette” said Rodriguez before the House Health and Human Services Committee, which he chairs.

The push was not without opposition. Tampa mother Ellen Snelling came to tell of her daughter's addiction and recovery.

“She started smoking marijuana. She went on to pills. There were long nights when I wondered if I would ever see my beautiful daughter again,” she said.

North Florida veteran John Goodson, who said he was under the influence as he spoke, was one of several people who said smoking pot
saved their lives.

“Ever since I started cannabis, I’ve got off three blood pressure medications, I got off my anxiety medicine” the veteran told the committee.

Allowing smoking passed with just two "No" votes. One was from Jacksonville's Clay Yarborough.

“I have concerns that long term, this will lead to recreation use. It’s more of a foot in the door” says Yarborough.

It was very clear that the change wouldn’t be happening but for a new governor, said Rodriquez.

“Well, clearly the bill is because the governor has called on the legislature to bring a piece of legislation that he can support,” he said.

Governor Ron DeSantis has asked for the smokable legislation by mid-March. An appeals court has said it will wait for the governor before ruling on a lawsuit that declared the no smoking provision unconstitutional.

By: Associated Press
February 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida legislature is getting closer to meeting Governor Ron DeSantis' demand that the state repeal a ban on smokable medical marijuana.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill on a 14-2 vote Tuesday that would allow doctors to prescribe smokable marijuana. The bill restricts its use to pre-rolled, filtered marijuana cigarettes.

Doctors would also have to report other forms of marijuana that patients tried and state that the benefits of smoking outweigh the risks. Smokable marijuana couldn't be prescribed to anyone under 18.

Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but lawmakers banned smokable forms when they implemented the amendment. A judge declared the ban unconstitutional. Then-Governor Rick Scott appealed the ruling.

DeSantis said he wants lawmakers to repeal the ban, otherwise he'll drop the state's appeal.

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