Today, the Florida Senate passed SB 1030 and the Floria House passed their version earlier this week to legalize a highly restrictive medical marijuana bill. Last night, May 1, 2014, Florida Governor Rick stated that he would sign the legislation into law making marijuana once again legal in Florida -- even if to a small number of Floridians. The bill, often referred to as the "Charlotte's Web" bill would legalize a specialized strain of cannabis for a small number of patients. The original bill only focused on children with seizures, however it was expanded to a restrictive number of cancer patients as well. The bill is so restrictive, it was the only way for Republicans to stay in the running, politically, this November as the overwhelming majority of Floridians feel marijuana should be legal in the state.
“I’m a parent and a grandparent. I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren, have the access to the health care they want. So, I know the House has passed the bill. It’s going back to the Senate. If it passes, I’m going to sign it,” Scott told reporters Thursday evening. Scott's gubernatorial opponent Adrian Wyllie has said, "Marijuana should be legalized. The war on drugs has been an abject failure. People are still doing drugs despite the laws. As a country, we’re spending $1 trillion each year to fight drugs. 60% of our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders. We’ve been battling this war for more than 40 years. Lives are still being destroyed."
The measure is not related to the issue which will be on the ballot in November, which would be much more expansive, however still restricted for medical usage by Floridians. SB 1030 is for the use of cannabidiol, often referred to as CBD, and is not something that is normally smoked. It is most often in liquid form and administered orally.
The Florida Department of Health will be charged with regulating the plant and making certain doctors prescribing the plant know what they are doing. The Department is also to set up a registry of patients as well as follow stringent guidelines to make certain they need the plant for medical purposes.
The bill is also highly restrictive as to how may grow the plant in Florida. The bill limits growers to nurseries who post a minimum $5 million bond, have operated in Florida for at least 30 years and regularly grow more than 400,000 plants (not cannabis) annually. This puts nearly all but 30 nurseries out of the market, which is typical for the Republican-led Florida legislature to impose anti-free market regulation on small business.