Today, March 20, 2014, at 12 p.m., the Florida House Appropriations Committee will hear testimony on the bill HB 843 which, if passed, would legalize research into medical cannabis and discourage the arrest and prosecution for those Floridians using a particular strain of marijuana. The bill is one of many being heard this legislative session dealing with cannabis use for anything from recreational usage to strict medical use.
Passage of HB 843 would allow researchers to study cannabidiol & its effect on intractable childhood epilepsy, would affirm cannabis has medical benefits, would discourage arrest of Floridians possessing low THC-high CBD (non-smokable) marijuana and allow for the expunction of criminal records for some prior convictions.
There has never been this much activity in Tallahassee on marijuana legislation since they made it illegal decades ago. Republican and Democrats alike have seen the writing on the wall with poll after poll consistently showing an overwhelming number Floridians want medical marijuana legalized and if they don't act, they may no longer be a Florida legislator. To stay abreast of all the upcoming legislation on marijuana in Florida, make certain to subscribe to this column so you will be properly notified.
As we mentioned, there are a large number of marijuana/cannabis bills being heard in Tallahassee this session and libertarians would like to see Florida adopt a cannabis-friendly state respecting one's individual rights. Libertarians feel that what one does with their own body is their business, not the government's, so long as they are not violating the rights of another. Libertarians feel Floridians should be able to grow their own cannabis on their own property without interference from government officials and should be able to sell that cannabis, if they so choose. The closest legislation in Tallahassee that does that is HB 1039, which has a long shot in passing.
One thing is perfectly clear, Florida will have some type of medical marijuana legislation passed by the close of the legislative session in May - one that is likely to be highly restrictive. At the November general election, Floridians will be able to decide on whether to legalize medical marijuana with slightly less restrictive regulation.