medical marijuana

Brett Levin via Flickr

Families who qualify for Florida’s small medical marijuana program could soon have access to the drug by summer.  It’s been nearly two years since the Florida legislature approved the use of a non-euphoric strain of marijuana for certain conditions.

Bokske via Wikimedia Commons

It’s happening slowly, but the Legislature’s posture toward illicit drugs is shifting.  But even as lawmakers revisit long-standing attitudes, supporters face significant hurdles in their effort to reinvent Florida policy.

Bokske via Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s medical marijuana system isn’t quite up and running, but lawmakers are already making changes for the project.  The sponsor says he is aiming to work out kinks in the program.

The outlook is mixed for medical marijuana in Florida.
Scott Beale via Flickr

It’s been tough sledding for Florida’s medical marijuana system.  The Department of Health awarded five long-awaited licenses last year, but now it faces more than twice that many challenges.  Agency officials updated senators on the program’s rollout this week.

A medical marijuana measure is one step closer to the ballot.
Scott Beale via Flickr

An initiative that could expand medical marijuana use in Florida appears ready for the ballot.  It has cleared review by the Florida Supreme Court.

The deadline for challenges to the state’s newly approved list of medical marijuana growers was Monday. More than a dozen challenges have been filed.  

The Department of Health began a new round of rulemaking to regulate operations for nurseries growing marijuana.
Scott Beale via Flickr

State health officials have selected the five nurseries charged with growing medical marijuana but their job is far from done.  Wednesday they laid out a set of rules to ensure nurseries grow the plant safely and securely.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Although the Department of Health has awarded licenses to grow cannabis, patients could still be waiting more than nine months for treatment.  But one of the nurseries is hoping to push that timeline forward.

Brett Levin via Flickr

It’s been 525 days of public testimony, legal wrangling, and perhaps worst—waiting, but the Department of Health Monday decided on which five nurseries will supply the raw materials for low-THC marijuana treatments.  But the licensees could raise eyebrows and the wait could be far from over.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Two Republican lawmakers are pitching a moderate expansion of the medical marijuana system they pushed through the Legislature almost two years ago.  The measure removes limits on potency, but only for terminally ill patients.

Terminally ill patients may soon have access to medical marijuana.
Scott Beale via Flickr

Changes to the state’s medical marijuana policy are taking shape in Florida’s Capitol.  A proposal granting terminal patients access to the drug is moving through the Legislature.

Scott Beale via Flickr

It’s been a busy few weeks for marijuana in Florida.   Lawmakers are untangling existing law while bringing forward new legislation.  Meanwhile advocates are pushing constitutional amendments to expand access, and polling suggests public support is high.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach), flanked by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park), speaking to reporters.
Nick Evans

State health officials are nearing a decision on who will get to grow medical marijuana in the Florida.  Meanwhile two lawmakers are hoping to expand the pool of eligible patients.

A neon sign reading medical with a marijuana leaf beneath it.
Chuck Coker via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are frustrated with the roll out of the state’s medical marijuana law. Nearly two years after the non-euphoric strain was approved, it’s still not available.

Florida House

A state lawmaker is hoping to add a standard threshold to what is considered “over the limit” in cases where a person is operating a vehicle and is high on marijuana.

The Department of Health's Low-THC marijuana are going into effect.
Brett Levin via Flickr

Whether Medicaid expansion will ever come to Florida is far from certain.  But after more than a year in the works, one health fight finally appears settled.

myfloridahouse

A heated debate in the Florida House concerning terminally-ill patient care ended unfavorably to medical marijuana proponents Wednesday, but the issue continues to make waves in the legislature.

Holley Moseley speaking at the Department of Health's hearing.
The Florida Channel

Mothers and fathers of children with intractable epilepsy made impassioned pleas Monday at the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rulemaking workshop.  Both parents and Department officials hope this meeting will be the last.

State lawmakers will consider changes to Florida's drug laws in the coming session.
Pete Zarria

In the coming session, lawmakers will take up proposals altering the state’s policy for tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol.  Among the three, Florida’s drug policy could look quite a bit different by the time legislators head home.

Lynn Hatter / WFSU News

Medical marijuana supporters gathered at the Capitol Tuesday in a show of support for legalization. They’re championing a bill by Rep. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) that he says would allow doctors to be the decision makers on who qualifies for medical marijuana and who doesn’t.

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach)
State of Florida

Florida’s sheriffs have come out in opposition to a Republican proposal to expand medical marijuana.  But Sen. Jeff Brandes’ (R-St. Petersburg) bill is getting a favorable reception from the minority party. 

A medical marijuana initiative nearly passed on last November’s ballot, and the response from voters has prompted Republican lawmakers like Sen. Brandes to put the issue on the agenda for the upcoming session.  Democrats have filed proposals for years, and House Minority leader Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) says he’s glad the move is gaining a foothold.

Department of Health Negotiated Rulemaking Hearing
Nick Evans

Implementation of Florida’s low-THC marijuana statute has been stalled since the Department of Health’s proposed rules were overturned in court late last year.  Agency officials are hoping a two-day marathon rulemaking session will help jumpstart the process.

Lawmakers have tried and failed for years, but perhaps 2015 is the year medical marijuana comes to Florida.
Scott Beale via Flickr

Florida has a low-THC marijuana law on the books and narrowly rejected a constitutional amendment allowing broader medical use last year.  But Florida lawmakers are gearing up for further debate in the coming session.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed a medical marijuana bill Monday, expanding on last year’s so-called Charlotte’s Web law.  Brandes says it also addresses perceived shortcomings in the unsuccessful Amendment 2, but it’s important for the issue to go before the Legislature rather than be decided through the initiative process.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)
State of Florida

Pinellas county Republican Jeff Brandes is receiving plaudits for filing the year’s first medical marijuana bill ahead of the legislative session. 

John Morgan, the personal injury lawyer behind the medical marijuana activism group United for Care, released a statement saying,

Amendment 2 failed to meet the 60% threshold in the 2014 election.
Brett Levin via Flickr

The organization pushing for medical marijuana in Florida got a new ballot initiative approved by the Secretary of State Friday.  United for Care believes their new proposal will succeed where last year’s Amendment Two failed.

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