Smoking medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. Here’s how it happened

It started in 1986 with a puff of Myakka Gold marijuana on Bradenton Beach.

Cathy Jordan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and given no more than five years to live. She came down to Florida from her home in Delaware with the goal to end her own life.

She wanted to see the beach and smoke some pot before she took a handful of muscle relaxers that would numb her pain once and for all.

But after a few hits on the beach that night, she suddenly felt better. She went home to Delaware and told her husband, Bob Jordan, about her experience. Little did they know, the couple had become a part of something bigger.


Confusion Over Cannabidoil: Is CBD legal? It depends who you ask

The cannabis chemical CBD is for sale all over Southwest Florida in a variety of products. Driving down U.S. 41 in Fort Myers, you can’t miss all the stores selling the popular hemp product.

Extracted from hemp, CBD (or cannabidiol) won’t get you high, but users say the popular product helps them fight things like pain, anxiety, and insomnia. And you don’t need a medical marijuana card or to go to a dispensary to buy it.

“There’s more curiosity for people to look into this as an option,” Rob Fontano, owner of Cirrus Smoke Shop in Fort Myers, said.

He said he’s been selling it for about a year.

Jimmy Java, owner of Jimmy’s Java, just started selling the hemp-based compound at farmer’s markets, adding it to his coffee.


Florida Senate passes bill to allow smokable medical cannabis

The Florida Senate voted last week to repeal the ban on smokable medical cannabis products in an overwhelming 34-4 vote.

Bill SB 182 will allow for patients to get 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 35 days, will provide $1.5 million for medical cannabis research as well as allow smoking in certain nursing homes as well as hospice facilities.

“We’ve been working around the clock with our colleagues in the House, with the Governor’s Office to come up with a consensus product and I think we’ve done that,” said State Senator Jeff Brandes who sponsored the bill.  


House, Senate near repeal of pot smoking ban

With plenty of breathing room before a March 15 deadline set by Gov. Ron DeSantis, House and Senate leaders have neared completion of a measure that would do away with a state ban on smoking medical marijuana.

Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Ray Rodrigues confirmed Wednesday they’ve reached an accord on a proposal that would allow patients to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for smoking every 35 days, ban smoking of medical marijuana in public places and allow terminally ill children to smoke the treatment, but only if they have a second opinion from a pediatrician.


Florida lawmakers file bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over

HB 1117 was filed by Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, and Michael Grieco, D-Miami Beach, on Tuesday. The proposal allows people who are 21 years old and above to "use, possess and transport" up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and have marijuana accessories.

The bill would also lets people possess, grow and cultivate up to six marijuana plants, including seedlings, and possess the marijuana produced by the plants.

The representatives say the measure will create a path toward full access to cannabis in Florida and a structure for its sale and taxation. Recreational marijuana is currently legal is 10 states.


Florida Democrats introduce bills to legalize recreational marijuana

Two house Democrats in Florida introduced two bills earlier this week that would legalize and tax adult-use cannabis in the Sunshine State.

State representatives, Michael Grieco (D-Miami Beach) and Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) introduced the two bills, House Bill 1117 and House Bill 1119, only a few days after lawmakers introduced bills that would honor medical cannabis patients from out of the state. The two representatives are hoping that the bills will help to continue the conversation about legalization despite strong resistance in the state.


Florida lawmakers want to honor medical marijuana ID cards from other states

Florida lawmakers are pushing a bipartisan measure that would honor medical marijuana identification cards from other states. 

HB 557 and SB 1328 would provide "reciprocity" for qualified patients and caregivers who are not residents. The House measure was filed earlier in January by Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, and Rep. David Silvers, D-Lake Clarke Shores, while the Senate version was filed last week by Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula. 


Trulieve to bring Organa Brands products to Florida through SLANG partnership

Fresh off its successful IPO, SLANG Worldwide (CNSX: SLNG) has formed a strategic partnership with Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis (OTC: TCNNF) to offer cannabis patients in Florida access to leading cannabis brands in Trulieve’s dispensaries across the state.


Florida lawmaker proposes creating a state hemp program

With officials seeing a potentially lucrative industry, Senate Agriculture Chairman Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, is proposing creation of a state hemp program.
Albritton on Thursday filed a bill that would set up the program under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The bill came after Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried last week named Holly Bell as the state’s first director of cannabis, a position that is expected to focus on building a hemp industry.
The bill also comes as agriculture officials say hemp production could help farmers and timber owners in Northwest Florida who sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Michael.


Potency of commercially marketed CBD products questioned

Independent testing reveals that many commercially marketed CBD-infused products contain lower percentages of cannabidiol than are advertised on the products’ label, according to an investigation conducted by NBC News in Miami.

Investigators submitted 35 commercially available products for third-party independent lab testing. “Of the 35 samples … tested, 20 of them had less than half of the amounts of CBD advertised on the label,” NBC reported. Some samples, such as a package of infused gummies claiming to contain 1,000 mg of CBD, contained no cannabidiol.


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