Medical marijuana is finally on the verge of becoming a reality in Florida. However, the state’s legislative forces are doing their best to prevent patients from having the freedom to consume the herb if it entails holding it to a flame.
It was a three ring circus in Tallahassee on Tuesday, with House and Senate members voting in approval of amendments aimed at getting the state’s new medical marijuana law out the door. Yet, that was not before a man with epilepsy suffered a seizure before having the opportunity to testify in favor of more access to cannabis.
“What happened today is another reminder, along with the many people that I’ve met over the last several years who are suffering from epileptic seizures and other serious conditions, that what we’re dealing with is people’s lives and we need to be compassionate.” said Senator Rob Bradley, according to a report from the Sun Sentinel.
Although the House and Senate have officially put their seal of approval on a couple of concepts for medical marijuana, the two bills are different enough that they must now go before a conference committee to be negotiated into a single measure. But despite the differences in the two proposals, the one thing that both chambers seem to agree on is: medical marijuana patients should not be allowed to smoke marijuana.
This means it is distinctly possible, and highly likely, that the final measure to be sent to Governor Rick Scott’s office for a signature will make it illegal for medical marijuana participants to smoke their medicine.
Although 71 percent of the voters approved medical marijuana through the passing of Amendment 2 last November, lawmakers have been pulling the same types of shenanigans they became infamous for when the state first began negotiating a low-THC program several years ago. Lawmakers have issues with people smoking marijuana, but they also have concerns about edibles, vaping and the types of pot products that should made available.
At the end of the day, it seems that most Florida lawmakers are simply against comprehensive medical marijuana reform, regardless of the voice of the voting public, and are on a mission to water it down as much as possible before turning it loose.
Some lawmakers, however, do not have any problem expressing disdain for their colleagues’ actions.
“The current bill in front of me, I do not believe, complies with what the voters voted for. In 100 fashions, it doesn’t comply,” Representative Jared Moskowitz, said prior to his vote.
A report published this week by the Miami Herald indicates that the same anti-drug groups that attempted to stop legalization from happening are now giving advice on how to craft the law. Drug Free America reportedly introduced suggestions to both the House and Senate on how to implement medical marijuana – the primary suggestion was to ban smoking. The group also wants chronic pain to be eliminated as a qualified condition, because they believe it would provide a greater opportunity for abuse.