Rick Scott expands special session to include medical marijuana

Legislature still debating medical marijuana legislation

Again on Thursday, supporters of keeping the legislation intact said that to undo it might cause the special session to fall apart.

"The bill will also further the work the Legislature has done over the past few years to pass legislation authorizing the medical use of marijuana and other developing medications for our fellow citizens who are suffering from serious medical conditions and illnesses", he said.

The air is thick with irony.

The House has teed up for a final vote Friday a measure (HB 1A) -- backed by Gov. Rick Scott -- that would provide $76 million to Visit Florida next fiscal year. State lawmakers are already in Tallahassee to sort out the Governor's economic development programs and possibly raise per pupil education spending in the state. This is something Bradley hinted at including in the legislation he plans to file during the special session.

One major sticking point remains. Vaping and edibles are OK.

The bill has been criticized for the way it was brokered in back room deals.

Stein, among others, is also concerned about some last-minute additions to the bill, including a mandate that citrus canning factories be given preferential consideration for two of the ten new licenses. "They know who is going to benefit". "Once (they) realize they can't smoke it, we'll be back here to fix it".

On Thursday, Florida lawmakers passed a smokeless medical marijuana bill in both the House and Senate - setting the stage for a Friday vote on the state's contentious MMJ legislation.

But leaders in the House and Senate are at an impasse on almost every issue.

As questions linger on how Florida will regulate the medical marijuana industry, Katie LaGrone of ABC Action News takes you behind-the-scenes and beneath the soil to show you how one company is cultivating legal cannabis. The highly coveted licenses go to businesses that are responsible for growing, processing and distributing pot. So, it's possible for a grower to go over the 25 dispensary cap, but only if they buy a slot from another grower. The maximum number of retail outlets in each of five regions of the state would be based on population.

The new bill allows all marijuana strains to be available and expands to include more conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), glaucoma, Crohn's disease, ALS and more.

The cap on dispensaries -- which would end in 2020 -- and the number of medical-marijuana operator licenses would increase as the number of patients eligible for the cannabis treatment grows. If lawmakers can't find a solution, the Department of Health will be charged with the rollout.

Although the so-called Amendment 2 received support from 71 percent of voters, the two chambers found themselves at an impasse when the regular session ended last month, unable to agree on needed rules. "But they're getting $140 million, not quite double, but they're getting a really good sum on the private side to meet their matches overall and still do what they need to do for the locals". And there's a bonus.

Originally introduced by Senator Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and later adopted by both Bradley and Rodrigues, a portion of the failed bill included appropriations for a marijuana research center that would have been established at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla.

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