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Florida Legislature Starts To Tackle Medical Marijuana Bills

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee.

Florida senators will begin hashing out possible medical marijuana laws this week.

There are five competing bills just in the Florida Senate on how the state should implement a medical marijuana amendment. The Florida Senate’s Health Policy Committee under Senator Dana Young will start the medical marijuana debate.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a broader medical marijuana program for patients last election.

With five competing bills to implement Amendment 2, the big question is how permissive to make the market. Florida has seven nurseries that grow, process and sell medical cannabis. Should lawmakers make use of the existing system? Or should Florida start over?

Gulf Coast Canna Meds CEO Tom Murphy wants to get into the medical marijuana business. He plans to speak to the committee.

“We want more permits, more licenses, and we want to do away with the vertically integrated market because it’s in restraint of trade,” Murphy said. “It flies in the face of everything we know as Americans and Floridians of free enterprise.”

The legislature faces an October deadline to put Amendment 2 into action.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.