Editor’s note: The regular session of the Florida Legislature begins March 7. In the meantime, Florida Food & Farm will post summaries and updates of bills that have been filed, in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, if they relate to agriculture, water or other appropriate topics.
Two bills, SB 406 and SB 614 — both addressing medical cannabis — have been filed in the Florida Senate.
State Sens. Rob Bradley (R-District 5) and Dana D. Young (R-Dist. 18) have co-sponsored and filed Senate Bill 406: Compassionate Use of Low-THC Cannabis and Marijuana.
The provisions of the 36-page bill include “Authorizing physicians to issue physician certifications to specified patients who meet certain conditions; requiring written consent of a parent or legal guardian for … minors; requiring that certain physicians annually reexamine and reassess patients … (and) requiring that certain receptacles be child proof.”
Under current Florida Department of Health regulations governing medical cannabis, patients permitted to use the medication must be re-evaluated every 90 days — not annually. SB 406 says, “At least annually, a physician must recertify the qualifying patient.”
SB 406 leaves in place another limitation, however: A physician qualified to recommend medical cannabis “will provide the patient with not more than a 90-day supply.”
SB 614, Medical Marijuana, is bipartisan
Another bill, SB 614, Medical Marijuana, was filed by state Sens. Jeff Brandes (R-District 24), Darryl Ervin Rouson (D-Dist. 19) and Greg Steube (R-Dist. 23).
The provisions in this 62-page bill include “authorizing a qualifying patient or his or her caregiver to purchase, acquire, and possess up to the allowed amount of marijuana, medical marijuana products, and associated paraphernalia; … providing that a physician must certify … that a patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition and that the benefits to the patient of using marijuana outweigh the potential health risks; … (and) requiring that the department (Florida Department of Health) create a secure, online, electronic medical marijuana patient registry.”
SB 614 would leave the current three-month rule in place. Under the bill, a physician treating a medical-cannabis patient would be allowed to recommend only “the amount of marijuana, or the equivalent amount of marijuana products, which a physician determines is necessary to treat a qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition for 90 days.”
For more information, visit the Florida Legislature’s website, www.leg.state.fl.us.