Medical Marijuana Faces Uncertain Future In Florida


Tallahassee, FL – Florida voters overwhelmingly approved expanding medical marijuana in November. Lawmakers must now decide whether the distribution systems needs to be altered from what was already in place and whether local government should be allowed to decide where dispensaries can be located.

Senate President Joe Negron said lawmakers got to the message that voters sent when it comes to medical marijuana.

It passed with 71 percent of the vote, noted Negron. Which is more votes than I got in my re-election.

But what happens next remains a bit of a question. State Senator Jeff Brandes thinks anyone who has one of the ten debilitating diseases set out in the amendment can start treatment January 3rd as along as they have a doctor who can prescribe and meet a 90-day treatment requirement.

Those who are allowed to be treated today will be able to treat to a wider network, said Brandes, who helped sponsor the measure. Because the list of conditions go into effect January 3rd.

But the Department of Health has sent mixed messages, agreeing with Brandes, but adding it has six and nine months to implement rules.

We want to sell legal marijuana come January 3rd, one grower said, But we dont know what that is.

And where it can be sold is a question as local governments are placing moratoriums on dispensaries. Negron thinks they can do that within limits.

I do think the state has a responsibility to make sure that peoples rights under the Constitution, their right to participate in legal commercial activities are not completely taken away, the Senate President said.

Some are pushing for a more free market approach than just the six licenses already allowed. But State Senator Dennis Baxley isnt one of them.

Were really in a very awkward place, Baxley explained. Where we could be setting loose a Pandoras Box of social problems.

Lawmakers will have until the end of June to sort it out. If they cant, the courts will likely be asked to decide what is legal.

Another uncertainty is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. President Barack Obamas administration has differed to the states, but there is no guarantee President-Elect Donald Trumps administration will do the same.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Medical Marijuana Faces Uncertain Future In Florida
Author: Mike Vasilinda
Contact: NBC2
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Website: NBC2