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Medical Marijuana Bill Clears First Hurdle In House

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

Patients are coming out in opposition to plans in the Florida House to implement a medical marijuana amendment.

The bill to enact Amendment 2 would prohibit edibles, smoking and vaping in most cases. It would also keep the current license style, where nurseries grow, process and sell medical cannabis.

Rosalyn Deckerhoff’s son has seizures and gets marijuana under current Florida law. She said a six-week supply costs nearly $300, and her nursery has run out once.

“We need to open this market up,” Deckerhoff said. “We cannot have patients running out of medications. Period. End of story. A seizure can kill my child. A seizure can kill anyone if they have one.”

The bill’s sponsor says there will be changes as the measure progresses through the legislature. The Senate has competing medical marijuana bills as well.

House Bill 1397 would prohibit edibles, smoking vaping medical marijuana in most cases. It would also exempt medical marijuana from sales tax, and keeps the system where companies grow, process and sell marijuana, although more nurseries are envisioned.

“This is a process,” bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues says. “This bill will look different as it makes its way through the process because there are changes we need to make based on input we’ve received.”

Critics of the bill want a more open system for growers and sellers and want to eliminate restrictions on doctors and patients.

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.