With staggering ineptitude, the Florida Legislature was able to let down millions of Floridians — yet again — by neglecting to pass a bill to fairly regulate medical marijuana.
After hammering out practically all the disagreements between them, the House and Senate failed to bridge their differences over the number of dispensaries the state needs to have as time ran out on the 2017 legislative session.
This really is exactly the same bureaucracy that took to create a low-THC variation of medical cannabis, called Charlotte’s Web, accessible to the little, qualifying amount of people after the Florida Legislature ’d that was OK with seizures that quite restricted use in 2014.
Or as the News Service of Florida place it, they’re the same group “who have been severely criticized by legislators, patients, sellers — and judges — for their treatment of the state’s present medical marijuana regulations.”
“The will of the people was thwarted again today by Tallahassee politicians, but they can’t deny us forever. Florida for Care will continue fighting to execute the Constitution and bring a compassionate medical cannabis law to this state’s patients.”
Senate and the House had started the legislative session with quite distinct strategies toward controlling medical cannabis for the considerably wider number of patients for whom November’s vote’s vote is supposed to profit.
The House took a far more restrictive approach, but in recent conferences with the Senate, the two chambers came much closer — except on the issue of dispensaries.
As the number of eligible patients grew the number would have grown.
However, while the House initially wanted fewer bud operators that were authorized in the state, the House’s bill would have permitted the purveyors to have endless variety of storefronts.
Critics maintained that the unlimited number of dispensaries would give an unfair advantage to the seven operators presently licensed from the state. (News Service of Florida)
In other words, the politicians squabbled concerning the possibility for a few operators to claim monopolies on the cannabis market that was future, rather than act with all the urgency the amendment requires.
Beneath the language of the amendment, which went into effect Jan. 3, essential regulations are assumed to be in place by early June. That comprises the rules for issuing patient I.D. cards; creating laws and standards for health professionals and growers/vendors/dispensaries (now known as “clinical bud treatment centres” or MMTCs); and defining the amounts of the drug that can be allotted to patients.
And by early September, the Health Department “shall start registering MMTCs, and issuing qualifying health professional and patient id cards
If the deadlines aren’t matched, “ any Florida citizen shall have standing to seek judicial relief” to compel the department to generally meet its -constitutional duty.
Is it too early to start drafting the suits?
In the aftermath of the defeat, trial lawyer John Morgan, the man who bankrolled the medical marijuana campaign, has turned on Pollara, the political adviser who shepherded the bill, blaming him for the laws’s failure. Politico reports:
Morgan called Pollara a “sellout” for his participation in lobbying over limiting the amount of health marijuana retail distribution centers in Florida. The issue of limits finally led to the death of the bill.
Although it’d nothing regarding patients, but had to do with gains,” Morgan said, accusing Pollara’s Florida for Attention group of representing prospective medical marijuana providers who desired a foothold in the Sunshine State.
But Pollara said he pushed for the max because he didn’t want the limited variety of present medical-cannabis providers jack up prices for patients and to monopolize the marketplace. “This is debilitating for me. I really like John. I looked up to him but he’s just wrong on this,” Pollara said. “At the end of the day, I did n’t kill this bill. I didn’t want it to expire. I told our lobbying team to do whatever they could to get a bargain reduction. But finally we weren’t the ones with all the capability to cut a deal.”
He explained his split with Pollara is closing, a once-unimaginable schism that’s comparable to Batman and Robin going different ways.
But Marc Caputo and Politico writers Daniel Ducassi go on to put the issue in perspective:
Because the limitations dilemma killed the bill, those who fought for them are to blame for the bill’s failure.
The fate of medical marijuana in the Florida Legislature was always iffy. The GOP-controlled Legislature, where rank and file conservatives don’t want to seem soft on drugs, just began approving medical marijuana laws when it looked as if voters would get it done without legislative input.
The prior congresswoman and daughter of former Florida Gov. Bob Graham issued a press release, saying:
I observed my husband battle cancer and the sickening ramifications of chemotherapy. So many patients with multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer along with other debilitating disorders could use medical cannabis as a method to deal with their pain,”
Graham said. “Floridians spent years begging the legislature before taking their case to the voters to take actions, however again, they are being ignored by the legislature. In the event I am given the honor of serving as governor by the folks of Florida, their voices will probably be heard. Failure to enact Change Two to legalize medical cannabis, which passed with 71.32 percent approval in 2016, is simply the latest example of the legislature ignoring Florida voters. “Go back to the lottery, or even more recently, Forever Florida, and everything you see is the legislature playing shell games with voters. Regrettably, no one should be shocked they’ve turned a blind eye to Floridians confronting chronic diseases,” Graham said.
For the third year in a row, the legislature is misappropriating funds for Florida Forever, a land and water conservation program supported by 74.96 percent of Florida voters in 2014.
They’d still be grounded after I told them to clean their rooms, If my kids acted like the legislature,” Graham said. “As governor, I am going to compel the legislature to satisfy their responsibilities, including calling them into special session if needed, to enact medical marijuana legalization.”