The medical cannabis bill (HB 1397) was approved Thursday, May 4 by a 31-7 vote. The measure passed in the House the previous Tuesday and will return there due to some changes made by the Senate before it hits the desk of the governer. If the House makes more changes the bill could be returned to Senate.
Currently in Florida it is legal for patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms and seizures are able to ingest non-smokeable cannabis that contains no traces of THC. Last year the law was expanded. Now patients with terminal conditions are able to utilize strains with higher THC contents.
This bill specifies 10 qualifying conditions access to full strength cannabis or low-THC options as treatment. Smoking will remain banned, but more medical cannabis treatment centers will open throughout Florida. Patients will receive a prescription for 70 days of supplies. Treatment centers could carry edibles, vaporizer products, oils, and sprays. There has been pushback from advocates for the bill and legislators regarding the prohibition on smokeable products.
The bill allots for the addition of 10 more treatment centers by July. This is one of the points that the Senate has pushed back on. They have proposed that only five new medical cannabis treatment centers would be added. Mostly, however, advocates on both sides are happy with the compromise. Everyone involved is aware that the process hasn’t been perfect. But what they can agree on is that the state should get ahead of an industry that is putting down roots in the industry of this country.