It appears another relatively useless piece of medical marijuana legislation could soon become law in Florida.
On Monday, the Senate put their stamp of approval on House Bill 307, which seeks to expand on the state’s low-THC program by making full strength cannabis products available to the terminally ill. It is now on its way to the office of Governor Rick Scott for a signature or a veto.
The proposal, which was introduced by Representative Matt Goetz and Senator Rob Bradley, would give those people who have been given less than a year to live the ability to use marijuana under Florida’s “Right to Try Act.” In accordance with state law, terminally ill patients have the freedom to use medications that have not yet been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. If the governor signs the bill, dying patients would be able to get their hands on various strains of cannabis, in unlimited amounts, as long as two physicians offer their approval.
This legislation would also serve as a repair kit for 2014’s medical marijuana bill—the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act—by remedying some of the regulatory issues that have caused countless delays to the launch of the program. While the governor signed the program into law two years ago, not a single patient has received any benefit. Sadly, the state is not expected to begin distributing low-THC products until sometime next year.
Although Florida patients may view the state legislature’s latest move as a positive baby step in the grand scheme of marijuana reform, many local pot advocates are less than impressed with their showmanship.
Pointing out that there are currently “zero eligible” medical marijuana patients in Florida, Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, the organization with a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in the forthcoming November election, told reporters that “the bill’s passage today is merely more lipstick on the pig that is Tallahassee’s failed medical marijuana.”
The organization’s chairman, John Morgan, reinforced this sentiment by chastising the state legislature for wasting more valuable time on a worthless bill that lacks the power to service the patients who need it most.
"Once again, Tallahassee politicians are putting their own campaigns before medical science and the rights of doctors,” Morgan told HIGH TIMES in an emailed statement. “This law would do nothing for people like my brother, a quadriplegic, or any other person who has intractable pain. It does nothing to help cancer patients who need marijuana to counter the affects of chemo. It does nothing for our solders with PTSD or patients with MS. The bill is typical Tallahassee window dressing, designed more to help with campaigns than serve as a true means of access for those that need it. Hospice centers have another drug. It's called morphine."
A spokesperson for Governor Scott’s office said the bill is currently under review. Scott has seven days to sign it, or else it immediately takes effect.
(Photo Courtesy of Bradenton.com)