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Calls To Cap THC In Marijuana Products Opposed By Cannabis Advocates, Sen. Jeff Brandes

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Mark, flickr
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Calls to cap THC levels in Florida's medical marijuana products are drawing outcry from cannabis advocates.

Members of the Veterans Cannabis Project joined Sen. Jeff Brandes (R, Pinellas) at a press conference in Tallahassee on Tuesday to oppose the proposal.

Legislation to create such caps hasn't been filed yet, but House Speaker Jose Oliva said earlier this month that it's a "priority" for his chamber.

Oliva said he's concerned about marijuana strains that contain high levels of the psychoactive ingredient and said he would be willing to file a bill that would cap THC in all marijuana products, from smokable flower to vaping cartridges.

He said Senate President Bill Galvano also wants to look at the issue.

A bill to cap THC in smokable marijuana at 10 percent advanced in the House last year but the Senate rejected the measure when it was presented as an amendment to a broader health bill.

Sen. Brandes said he’ll fight any effort this year.

"This is a medical product recommended by a physician and we don't think the state should be involved in that decision," he said.

RELATED:  Read more WUSF coverage of medical marijuana issues

Smokable cannabis sold in Florida dispensaries can have THC levels as high as 30 percent, and vaping products are much stronger.

Brandes said capping those levels could hurt patients who would no longer get the desired effects they're used to from a single dose.

"If they're having to ingest or take twice as much of the medicine, that's a problem," he said.

Brandes said the caps could also drive up the cost of marijuana, as growers would have to destroy high-potency crops and plant news ones to comply. This might drive patients to the black market to get their medicine.

The session ends March 13, leaving lawmakers only a couple weeks to act on this issue.

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.