Florida Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill for Low-THC Pot
Florida is still a long way from legalized medical marijuana. The Sheriff's Association is waging a fierce campaign against it. The governor has hinted he might not sign any new laws on it. The conservative House has yet to take up the issue.
Photo by Bogdan via Wikimedia Commons
Yet history was made in the Florida Senate yesterday, when legislators for the first time passed a bill to legalize medical pot. The bill, which would make it legal to obtain low-THC marijuana from a doctor to treat epilepsy in children, flew through the Senate with a 36-3 vote.
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The so-called Charlotte's Web bill was sponsored by three Republicans and bolstered by emotional testimony from parents such as Helen and Peyton Mosley.
The Gulf Breeze couple became the most visible pair in favor of the bill, which they say would drastically improve life for their 11-year-old daughter, RayAnn, who suffers from epileptic seizures.
If the bill is signed into law, patients such as RayAnn would be able to get marijuana with 0.8 percent or less THC (normal weed has around 15 percent of the chemical) with a doctor's prescription.
"RayAnn made a huge impact on me when they came to my office," Republican Rep. Greg Evers of Pensacola tells the AP. "If it was my child, I wouldn't have any problem getting them help, whether it was legal or whether it wasn't."
The vote is historic, but it doesn't change anything yet. A companion piece in the House is destined for a floor vote, but it's much less clear-cut whether it will pass.
There's also the sticky matter of Rick Scott. The governor hasn't made it clear exactly what he'll do about Charlotte's Web if it passes both chambers, but he has certainly given plenty of hints that he doesn't like it.
Earlier this month, he sent his surgeon general to the House to warn of "unintended consequences" if the bill passes. Scott has issued only a vague statement saying, "The FDA is currently evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the medication. The Governor is hopeful that families will get relief from the impacts of these serious illnesses in the safest possible way."
Either way, voters will have their say on more sweeping change this November when they cast ballots on fully legalized medical marijuana.