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Medical Marijuana Faces Uncertain Future in Florida

December 20th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

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Florida voters overwhelmingly approved expanding medical marijuana in November. Lawmakers must now decide whether the distribution systems needs to be altered from what was already in place, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, whether local government should be allowed to decide where dispensaries can be located.

Senate President Joe Negron says lawmakers got to the message that voters sent when it comes to Medical marijuana.

“It passed with 71% of the vote” noted Negron. ”Which is more votes than I got in my re-election.”

But what happens next remains a bit of a question. State Senator Jeff Brandes thinks anyone who has one of the ten debilitating diseases set out in the amendment can start treatment January third as along as they have a doctor who’ can prescribe and meet a 90 day treatment requirement.

“Those who are allowed to treated today will be able to treat to a wider network, because the list of conditions go into effect January 3rd, says Brandes, who helped sponsor the measure.

But the Department of Health has sent mixes messages, agreeing with Brandes, but adding it has 6 and 9 months to implement rules.

One grower told us, “we want to sell legal marijuana come January 3rd, but we don’t know what that is.”

And where it can be sold is a question as local governments are placing moratoriums on dispensaries. Negron thinks they can do that within limits.

“I do think the state has a responsibility to make sure that people’s rights under the constitution, their right to participate in legal commercial activities are completely taken away” opined the Senate President.

Some are pushing for a more free market approach than just the six licenses already allowed. But State Senator Dennis Baxley isn’t one of them.

“We’re really in a very awkward place where we could be setting loose a Pandora’s Box of social problems.

Lawmakers will have till the end of June to sort it out. If they can’t the courts will likely be asked to decide hats legal.

Another uncertainty is that marijuana remains legal under Federal law. the Obama administration has differed to the states, but there is no guarantee the Trump administration will do the same.

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