Florida GOP state senator: pass restricted medical marijuana bill

Well, this news surprises me:

Florida medical physicians would be allowed to prescribe “medical grade” marijuana to needy patients under a major cannabis bill filed Monday by a top Florida Republican state senator.

The legislation proposed by St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes would allow people who have specified serious medical conditions —- such as cancer, AIDS or epilepsy —to receive and use medical marijuana if a doctor certifies its use. Patients would be limited to a 30-day supply.

But the bill goes a step further and says that doctors could certify medical-marijuana use for other patients who have exhausted other medical treatments first.

The legislation is the most far-reaching of its kind proposed by a top Republican and reflects a proposed constitutional amendment that garnered 57.6 percent of the vote. That amendment, which failed because it didn’t meet a 60 percent threshold for approval, has been redrafted and could appear on the 2016 ballot.

“Floridians have spoken on the issue of medical marijuana and Sen. Brandes has heard them,” said Ben Pollara, the executive director of the United for Care group that has back the proposed amendments.

But:

“It would need to be very strictly regulated,” Steube told the paper. “We would want the bill to say, ‘Here are the medical issues you can take it for, that’s it.”

Brandes’ bill does spell out these specific medical conditions: cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and persistent pain, severe and persistent nausea, persistent seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms.

I don’t know what will come of this. Even the governor demurred on his previous demurrals during an election year. But it proves the value of grass roots activism: consistent and unrelenting pressure on legislators.

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