Thanks to State Senator Jeff Brandes (R), who says “it’s gonna happen,” Florida may be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana, but not everyone in his party is gun-ho on the idea, and some Republicans are looking to cap medical marijuana consumption.
The Florida House of Representatives will convene on Tuesday to vote on HB 1455, filed by Rep. Spencer Roach (R), a regulatory measure that would cap THC at 10%, resulting in medical marijuana users experiencing 50-150% higher taxes according to Florida For Care.
“The legislature must turn off their reefer madness blinders for a second and face facts that THC caps are an egregious tax on patients, no two ways about it,” stated Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care. “And if there is anything, ANYTHING, that Republicans in the Florida legislature dislike more than sick people smoking marijuana it is new taxes!
Pollara is right, Republicans legislators and the voters that elected them to office detest taxes, especially new ones.
The Florida House has always historically passed similar legislation over the last few years, but it usually dies once it gets over to the Senate side. Is Roach’s bill dead on arrival in the Senate chamber?
Here is a list of things Rep. Roach’s bill calls for:
—Prohibits a qualified physician from engaging in certain advertising
—prohibits certain entities & individuals from employing qualified physician or having certain economic interests
—authorizes DOH to sample marijuana & marijuana delivery devices
—requires recall of marijuana under certain circumstances
—prohibits a qualified physician from certifying to minor patient marijuana
—except for low-THC cannabis
—revises supply limits of marijuana
—prohibits medical marijuana testing laboratory from having an economic interest or financial relationship with MMTC.
On top of Florida for Care states, the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida insists that the caps would water down the cannabis and, “inadvertently require patients to consume or smoke more cannabis in order to medicate.”
According to Taylor Biehl, a government affairs consultant with Capit0l Alliance Group,” The Medical Marijuana Business Assoc of Florida, believes that capping the levels at 10% on smokable products would create a variety of issues and inconveniences between physicians and patients.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R), arguably one of the most Conservative members of the House of Representatives, opposes caps on medical marijuana and has expressed his unwavering support for legalizing cannabis in Congress and while he was a state legislator in Florida.
“The only thing that I know is more popular than getting out of the war on drugs is getting out of the war in Afghanistan,” Gaetz said.
“But if we were measuring the success of the war on drugs, it would be hard to conclude anything other than the fact that drugs have won,” he continued. “Because the American people do not support the policies of incarceration, limited research, limited choice, and particularly constraining medical application.”
Now, if Florida voted by 71% in the midterm elections to include medicinal marijuana in the state’s Constitution, then would it be fair to make such regulations?
With an estimated 500,000 Florida patients having to rely on medical marijuana that is prescribed by some 2,600 physicians, it appears as if the legislative wind could be against House Republicans who support the caps.