Calls grow for Florida special session on medical marijuana
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A leader behind last year's passage of a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana in Florida has joined growing calls for Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders to hold a special session to finalize rules for its implementation.
Orlando attorney John Morgan, who lobbied for Amendment 2's passage through the group United for Care, said it is Scott's obligation to convene a special session so that the Legislature can finish work on a bill putting the enacting rules in place.
"Government in Florida is controlled by one party. What you've got to understand is medical marijuana is not an issue of party. Diseases don't pick political parties," Morgan said in a video . "It was all about money in the end and not about you."
Gov. Scott's office said through a spokesperson that it continues to review all options.
If a special session isn't held, the Department of Health would need to come up with rules by July 3 and have them implemented by October. Amendment 2 allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments It was enacted on Jan. 3 after being passed by 71 percent of voters last November.
Currently, low-THC and non-smoked cannabis can be used by patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures and chronic muscle spasms. The law was expanded last year to include patients with terminal conditions. It also allowed them to use more potent strains.
That bill fell apart on the final day of session when the Senate and House could not agree on how many retail dispensaries a medical marijuana treatment center could operate.
Morgan later told The Associated Press that he wanted to post the video to get his complete thoughts out there. After the bill fell short of passage, Morgan took to social media voicing his frustration over the process.
"The video was posted in order to get the focus back on the people and getting something passed," he said. "We've had our food fights, now is the time to move forward. The whole thing is the people who need the marijuana don't give a damn about the caps."
Morgan said there were some parts of the proposed bill that he liked, but that he would have sued since the bill did not allow for smoking as one of the ways patients could use marijuana. The amendment states that the only place where smoking is not allowed is public spaces.
He also had some concerns about the definitions of chronic pain. The bill would have allowed those who suffer chronic pain related to one of 10 qualifying conditions to receive either low-THC cannabis or full strength medical marijuana.
The Department of Health continues to review public comments while coming up with proposed rules. Litigation is expected over whatever rules the department comes up with, based on its prior rulemaking history.
Senate President Joe Negron on Monday said that the Legislature does have a responsibility to be involved in rules implementation.
Sen. Rob Bradley, who was the Senate's lead marijuana negotiator during session, also said he preferred that the Legislature get involved before next year's session starts in January.
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