Florida lawmakers weigh in on future of medical marijuana

Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 6:43 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

March 22, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- State lawmakers are zeroing in on medical marijuana in the State Capitol. There are five different ideas floated in the State Senate during a workshop today and just one in the House, but the people behind Amendment 2 say the House version won’t do what voters are seeking.

Florida’s Police Chiefs spent the day walking Capitol hallways, pushing their version of what medical marijuana should look like on the streets.

Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates says, “When, where and how medical marijuana dispensaries operate. That’s very, very important to the Florida Police Chiefs.”

The Chiefs wold have liked what the House Sponsor was telling Mayors from across the state.

House Majority Leader Rep. Ray Rodrigues says, “You control how many dispensaries will be within your borders and where those will be located.”

But even Rep. Rodrigues describes the House position, with no smokable and no edibles, as more conservative than the Senate.

“We have no smokables, currently just vaping for terminally ill, and no edibles. The key thing from our perspective is this was sold as medical marijuana and we believe doctors should have a role within the relationship,” says Rep. Rodrigues

And that conservative approach isn’t sitting well with Ben Pollera. He ran the Amendment 2 campaign.

“Leader Rodrigues has said, too, he’s doing this, he's written this, quote end quote, to protect people from, you know, the ills of marijuana rather than respecting this is a new right we put into the constitution, not something that requires a whole new set of restrictions and places to get tripped up,” Pollera says.

About the only thing everyone agrees on is that the seven growers who have invested millions, will play a major part in whatever emerges from the legislature.

In the end, Senate Health Policy Chair Dana Young says they have one goal.

“To implement the amendment the way the voters wanted it implemented and that’s what I am going to do,” Sen. Young says.

Lawmakers know 71 percent of their voters said yes. They also know if they don’t get it right, each of those voters has the right to go to court.

Under the House bill, doctors who prescribe medical marijuana for “debilitating conditions” listed in the constitution wold have to justify the reasons for the prescription.

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