2019 was a big year for cannabis in Florida. Here’s what happened and what lies ahead

A marijuana lobbyist became the only statewide Democrat sworn into office. Smoking medical marijuana became legal in Florida. A new hemp program gave farmers statewide the optimism for a new cash crop. On the whole, 2019 proved to be a monumental year for cannabis in the state

In February, The state hired its first “cannabis czar,” in August the Miami-Dade State Attorney announced it will no longer prosecute minor marijuana cases and in October, two associates of Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s sought pot licenses in the state.


These U.S. states are most likely to legalize marijuana in 2020

The cannabis advocacy community wants the nation to believe that 2019 was a banner year in the realm of marijuana reform. But the only things that really happened were that New York and New Jersey failed to make good on their word to legalize, Illinois followed through and the U.S. House of Representatives dilly-dallied with a couple of bills (SAFE and MORE Acts) that will never see the light of day.

This “banner” year that pro-pot organizations like NORML are so proud of really doesn’t equate to much. But we could have better luck next year. There are several states positioned to legalize marijuana in 2020. These are the five that seem to have the best chance at success.


Florida's edible marijuana regulations still in limbo after 2 years

Gummies, cookies and lollipops are among the pot-infused treats available to cannabis patients and recreational users in other states.

But more than two years after Florida lawmakers authorized medical marijuana edibles, health officials this week set in motion the state’s first effort at putting the munchies on the shelf.

The Department of Health announced the development of regulations for what will and won’t be allowed, but no details have been released.

That means it will be a while before Sunshine State patients will be able to grab long sought-after items --- such as “Mango Maui Wowie Fruit Leather,” “Reef Jerky,” and “Space Brownies” --- which are fan favorites elsewhere.


Marijuana Legalization Could Be Coming To These States In 2020

This year has been momentous for cannabis reform, from the Illinois General Assembly becoming the first state legislature to pass a bill to regulate cannabis like alcohol to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the SAFE Banking Act and forging ahead with the MORE Act. 

It’s important to celebrate these victories, but with the end of 2019 comes the beginning of 2020, which is already shaping up to be the biggest year ever for marijuana-policy reform. 


Florida lawmakers propose making medical marijuana cards free for veterans

Like so many veterans, Randall Lilly returned home after two tours in Afghanistan with injuries you can’t see like post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

And like so many veterans, he faced a Department of Veterans Affairs that will not recommend medical marijuana because of federal law, despite legalization in states like Florida.

Instead, Lilly was prescribed psychotropic drugs. Others are often given opioids, depending on the treatment they’re seeking.

"I tried using them,” Lilly said of the psychotropic drugs he was prescribed by his V.A. doctors. “I didn't like being in a medicated hangover, I did not like the grogginess and the effects."


Legalizing Marijuana Would Boost Florida’s Economy By $190 Million

A new report commissioned by the state found marijuana legalization to be “slightly positive” for Florida.

Thanks to its white beaches and theme parks, Florida already ranks high as a travel destination for most Americans. But if the state wants to pull more money into its economy, it should legalize marijuana. If voters agree in the 2020 election, legal marijuana would pump $190 million into the state’s economy from taxes and tourism.


Florida lawmakers want to give veterans medical marijuana cards for free

With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical marijuana cards to military veterans free of charge.

Last week, the Journal of Psychopharmacology added yet another study to the growing body of evidence pointing to the linkage between marijuana use and the alleviation of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a cross-section survey of Canadians, the authors reported depressive episodes and suicidal ideation was not a factor among cannabis users; consequently, they cited "an emerging need for high-quality experimental investigation" of cannabis in treating PTSD.


New Florida Bill would prohibit discrimination against medical cannabis patients

A Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill that would protect employees from discrimination in the workplace due to their status as a medical marijuana patient or for the use of cannabis while off the job. The measure was pre-filed in the legislature by Democratic Rep. Tina Polsky of Boca Raton.


Florida petition to put cannabis on 2020 ballot has gathered enough signatures

While there are still a number of big hurdles to clear before recreational weed becomes legal in Florida, that possibility is looking more and more likely.

Currently, there are three proposals calling for legalization.

One of them, being proposed by Make it Legal Florida, has just hit its first big milestone. Now, the proposal must clear judicial and financial reviews. Following that, there are a couple final steps before the ballot.

But if the group meets all of these requirements, the proposal would finally make it in front of voters in 2020.


Florida medical marijuana use doubles in just one year

Since this time last year, the number of medical marijuana patients in Florida has more than doubled.

In fact, the state of Florida is the second-fastest-growing medical marijuana market in the country, according to a recent study done by Marijuana Business Daily.

In November 2016, medical marijuana became legal for Florida residents, but, despite the obvious upward trend, many in the industry say there is still a lot of misinformation about it.

CBS4’s Karli Barnett breaks down the facts and learned the process of accessing medical marijuana.


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