Archives for March, 2016

Gov. Scott Signs Expansion of Medical Marijuana Bill in Florida

This past Friday, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill which would expand Florida’s narrow medical marijuana law.  The bill, which was already approved by the Senate and House of Representatives, will now become a law.

The new law increases the number of people who would qualify for medical marijuana to include those persons suffering from a terminal illness.  Previously, the law was limited to patients suffering from cancer and seizure disorders.  The law also expands the types of cannabis available to qualifying patients to include strains that are high in THC as well as those that are high in CBD.

Finally, the new law seeks to streamline the process of setting up dispensing organizations which would provide medical cannabis to patients.  The process established by the old law was heavily criticized and never reached full implementation due to legal challenges and bureaucratic red tape.  The new law seeks to create a clearer path to a functioning dispensary system and allows for an increase in the number of dispensing organizations as the number of patients increases.

While the new law is not as broad as the ballot initiative which will appear on the November 2016 election ballot, it is still another small step in the right direction.  It is evidence that lawmakers are increasingly viewing medical cannabis as a legitimate form of treatment and that they are putting compassion for patients above the strict “drug war” mentality.

The full text of the new law can be read by clicking here.

 

US Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Colorado Recreational Pot Legalization

The US Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by the State’s of Nebraska and Oklahoma which sought to challenge Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis.  That suit asserted that Colorado’s neighboring states were being harmed by legal pot which was being purchased in Colorado and brought across the border into those states.  By declining the case, the Supreme Court essentially allowed the lower court’s dismissal of the suit stand.

 

Bill Expanding Medical Cannabis And Adding Dispensing Organizations Heads to Florida Governor

The Florida Senate has approved a House Bill (HB 307) which would expand on Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.  That act was initially passed last year, but due to legal challenges and bureaucratic red tape, it’s implementation has been delayed.

The new bill would expand the existing law by incorporating cannabis use under Florida’s Right To Try Act (§499.0295), which permits terminally ill patients the ability to use medicinal cannabis.  Cannabis available under the Right to Try Act is not limited to low THC, high CBD strains that were permitted under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.

One of the other notable changes to the law was that it provides for an expansion of the number of dispensing organization.  The current law only allows for five dispensing organizations to provide cannabis for the entire state.  The new law proposes to increase that number to eight organizations after the number of qualified patients exceeds 250,000.

The proposed law also states that, if that expansion takes place, one of the three new dispensing organizations should be a black-owned.  This addition to the law is in response to criticism that the old law’s strict criteria for awarding licenses had the effect of excluding black farmers.

The bill now heads to Governor Rick Scott for approval or rejection.