Florida governor pushes for smokeable cannabis to be made legal

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Medical marijuana patients in Florida will soon be allowed to buy smokeable cannabis products according to recent remarks made by state governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis announced last week that if the state legislature does not repeal the smoking ban from Florida’s medical cannabis statute within the first two weeks of March that he will drop an appeal to keep it in the law.

Earlier in 2018, a Florida judge rules that the ban on smoking cannabis violates Amendment 2, the measure passed in 2016 by 71 percent of voters that legalized marijuana in Florida. DeSantis has also said that the ban does not align with the will of the voters.

“What the Florida Legislature has done to implement the peoples’ will has not been done in accordance with what the amendment envisioned,” said DeSantis. “Whether [patients] have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that? I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

Under current Florida law, cannabis can only be consumed by way of edibles, sprays, oils, vaping products and pills. Cannabis products must be low in THC and in order to be classified as such, any products must contain 0.8 percent or less of THC and more than 10 percent of CBD by weight.

Others in the state agree with DeSantis, including Agriculture commissioner and marijuana advocate Nikki Fried.

“Every day that medical marijuana in the pure plant form is unavailable to patients, Floridians continue to suffer,” said Fried. “This is an issue I’ve seen firsthand throughout our state and country, and one that touches my family personally – my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she is struggling to find medicine that relieves her suffering. The fact that she can’t access the medicine she needs breaks my heart.”

State Senator Jeff Brandes has also said that the state should not have the authority to decide how someone consumes medical cannabis.

“What other drug does the government tell you how to ingest?” said Brandes. “It’s a doctor-patient issue. The government doesn’t insert themselves in there.”

DeSantis also announced that Florida’s current seed-to-sale system created by the Florida Legislature created a cartel arrangement that he believes to be unconstitutional. He accuses the GOP-controlled Legislature of not listening and adhering to the will of the voters who approved an amendment to the State Constitution in 2016 that legalized medical cannabis in the state.

DeSantis plans to make it so that other companies will be able to provide specific services including growing, transporting and dispensing rather than having only a few companies that have a monopoly on the entire process.

“We have a lot of fish to fry in Florida,” said DeSantis. “The last thing I want to be doing is cleaning up something that should have been done two years ago. I don’t want to continue fighting some of these old battles.”

Two bills have been filed for the 2019 session: one will allow for smoking marijuana and the other will allow dispensaries to be owned independently and not controlled by the producers.

 

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