Florida House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Florida House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Pixabay / msqrd2 / CC0 Public Domain

On March 28, 2017, a Florida House committee voted to approve a bill that would regulate the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana market.

Introduced by House Majority Leader Rep. Ray Rodrigues, House Bill 1397 would impose some of the strictest consumption limitations out of any of the legislative proposals currently being considered. If passed, patients would be banned from smoking, vaping, and using edible marijuana products.

Patients suffering terminal illness, however, would still be allowed to use vaporizers. In order to qualify for medical marijuana, patients would have to be permanent Florida residents and be under the treatment of the same doctor for 90 days.

For medical marijuana producers, HB 1397 would keep the initial seven licensed growers with an option to add more as patient enrollment increases.

Once patient enrollment reaches 150,000, six more licenses would be added to the system. An additional five licenses would be added once enrollment reached 200,000 patients and three more licenses would be added for every additional 100,000 patients after that milestone.

Also included in the bill is a provision that keeps the requirements for all licensed medical marijuana providers to be vertically integrated

Speaking with The Sun Sentinel, United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara expressed concern over the measure, stating that “there are numerous provisions violative of the spirit and letter of the constitution,” such as the 90-day rule and that it “bans virtually every common means of consumption.”

With the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee voting 14-1, HB 1397 will now go to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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