Last week, the Senate in Florida voted 34-4 to eliminate the state prohibition on medical marijuana consumption. The bill called SB 182 will permit patients to smoke a maximum of 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 35 days. The law also establishes a $1.5 million Medical Marijuana Research and Education Board and legalizes marijuana smoking in authorized nursing homes and hospital establishments.
The primary sponsor of the bill is State Senator Jeff Brandes. According to him, the passage of the law was due to hard work from his colleagues in the House, and the Governors.
He also said that the job of a physician deals with both art and science. Brandes told his peers that “There is a latitude we give physicians to try a new drug and try experimentation. That’s how we build on this body of research.”
The bill is set to go through the House before it finally goes to the Governor’s office, and the governor will surely approve it. One of the main actors of the bill was Gov. Ron DeSantis, who told the state legislature at the beginning of the year that the 2017 ban on smoking was not done concerning the amendment forecasted. DeSantis also said that when the majority of voters in Florida approved medical marijuana in 2016 via Amendment 2, they were not voting in favor of a ban on cannabis smoking.
DeSantis told lawmakers that they have until Mid-March to make a final decision on the issue. A similar measure suggested by the House committee for health and human services has not been passed on the legislature but was considered to be insufficient.
The approval of SB 182 is set to become effective at a period when most state’s strict restrictions on the use and possession of cannabis are being questioned. Last month, a circuit judge criticized the 2017 law that restricted the number of dispensaries that could be established in the region, stating that the cap is increasing barriers that tend to increase the cost, risk, and convenience of patients. He also mentioned the long wait for products, and the reduction in patients’ practical choice, information, privacy, and safety.
The Senate Bill was recently passed, and according to the requirement of the bill, non-terminal child patients should receive a second physician’s recommendation before getting medical marijuana. It also favors the establishment of medical cannabis treatment centers to sell smoking paraphernalia. Moreover, it prohibits public smoking and drug-free workplaces.
Even marijuana critic, State Senator Rob Bradley, who was the primary sponsor of the original ban on smokable cannabis recognized that it was time for cannabis to become legal. Bradley said that the decision was centered on the health of the people of the state of Florida.
Last month, Lawmakers stated that they were preparing two distinct proposals in the Senate and House of Representatives, stimulated by last year’s ruling by a Leon County Circuit Judge which prohibited the smoking of marijuana.