Florida lawmakers agree that marijuana products cannot be smoked

- Florida patients may be able to vape or munch on medical-marijuana products, but they almost certainly will not be allowed to light up joints or take bong hits.

Florida House and Senate members are trying to reach a consensus on a proposal to carry out a constitutional amendment that legalizes medical marijuana for patients with a broad swath of conditions. This amendment was overwhelmingly approved by more than 70 percent of voters last fall.

Lawmakers on Tuesday approved two different approaches to the amendment, which could make Florida one of the largest marijuana markets in the country when fully implemented.

However, neither the House or Senate committee has any intention of allowing marijuana to be smoked, despite repeated demands from numerous patients, caregivers, and others who insist that smoking provides some with the best type of treatment.

Lawyer Michael Minardi, who specializes in marijuana law, accused the House Appropriations Committee of thwarting the will of voters who supported the constitutional change.

"These are veterans. These are the elderly. These are seniors, and people with ALS or PTSD, who benefit and use cannabis in a smoked form. What you are doing here, by creating this legislation when 71 percent of the people support it, is going against their will," Minardi said.

Yet, Senator Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican who has shepherded marijuana-related legislation through his chamber for the past three years, says that smoking is off the table. 

"There is agreement between the majority of the House and Senate that the smoking of cannabis is not an act that is consistent with a healthy life and not consistent with consuming medicine," Bradley said.

Other issues, like limitations on the amount of dispensaries, are also being discussed.

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