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State to Fund Medical Marijuana Research

May 2nd, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Legislation setting up the framework for voter approved medical marijuana cleared the State House today and is getting closer to a compromise in the State Capitol. But as Mike Vasilinda  tells us, lawmakers also want to find out what few others are asking: How does pot affect the people using it.

As the House debated medical marijuana, the same question kept coming up. Where’s the science. Rep. Julio Gonzalez is a medical doctor from Venice.

“You will find no convincing scientific evidence” says Gonzalez.

Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) was equally blunt.

“I have Significant concern about the science behind medical marijuana” Harrell told colleagues.

To help answer the science question, the legislation has a four hundred thousand dollar appropriation. it goes to one of the states leading Cancer Centers, Moffit, in Tampa.  Sen. Bill Galvano is the driving force behind the idea.

“I want to know the real effects. What are the negative effects, what are the down sides?

You can’t listen to a commercial on pharmaceuticals on the radio or tv without a whole litany of bad side effects, and right now, there’s just a rosy picture being painted for medical marijuana. I want the truth” says Galvano.

The money is solely for administrative costs. Who pays for what research and how much is still very much up in the air says Moffitt’s Jamie Wilson.

“There is very very little research if any that exists, and the people of Florida really need to know, and of the country need to know, what is the proper dosage. what is the efficacy when it comes to medical marijuana?”  says Wilson.

More money could come later. Galvano is in line to be Senate President in 2018.

While there are still some policy disagreements, nobody is arguing that research is a bad idea.

The voter approved marijuana amendment must be in place by the first of October. Any research findings will come much later than that.

The authors of Amendment two are still unhappy with the latest draft legislation. It still does not allow smoking medical marijuana, and it continues what is know as vertical integration, which means growers are also the distributors and retail outlets.

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