An older marijuana bill for terminally ill was revived in Florida, after being previously ignored. The House Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill named HB 307 by a 9 to 2 voting result. Its next challenge will be at the full Florida House.
The bill’s purpose is to allow terminally ill Florida citizens who have less than 1 year to live to have access legally to marijuana. The drug will be provided by five authorized distributors.
Along with its companion titled SB 460, this bill is part of the law named “Right to Try” that passed in 2015 and allowed terminally ill people use experimental drugs that are not available for general use. A vote will soon take place for the bill in the Senate.
Back in 2014, five nurseries that have grown about 40,000 plants in thirty years have received licenses from the Department of Health as a result of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. As a result, they have been legally allowed to grow and dispense marijuana that is low in THC (Euphoria Inducing Tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in CBD (cannabidiol). Those who suffer from cancer, severe muscle spasms or seizures can also receive Charlotte’s Web which is cannabis low in THC.
The bill aims to include full-strength cannabis on the list for terminally ill patients and is sponsored by Katie Edwards from D-Plantation, Reps. Matt Gaetz and R-Fort Walton Beach.
However, the bill is not only driven by compassion, but also by economics. The five distributors will be able to expand their market and profits. The market has been previously surrounded by controversies, as a provision that aimed to expand the number of nurseries from five to twenty has been removed by an amendment approved by The House subcommittee.
Others have voiced the true reality of terminally ill people who will try whatever they can find, no matter if it is legal or not. Many farmers have complained of being discriminated because of the strict regulations on the matter, while others have admitted to illegally growing their own cannabis in order to ease their pains or various diseases. The major problem with having so few dispensaries is that not all people in need will have access to marijuana, but also that the five existing distributors will create their own monopoly of the market.
While a marijuana bill for terminally ill was revived in Florida, it is an important step towards the liberalization of the drug for medical purposes.
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