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New Medical Marijuana Bill Increases Growers and Dispensaries

June 8th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Legislation to implement voter approved medical marijuana is moving closer to the finish line as the House and Senate versions of the bill passed through their final committee stops Thursday.
Patients will find it easier to find medical marijuana dispensaries under the compromise.
Ten new growers would be allowed by October, bringing the number of licenses growers to 17.
Each could have up to 25 retail stores. Stores and growers would increase as the number of patients increases.
Black Farmers are guaranteed at least one license.
Citrus Growers will receive preference for at least two of the new licenses.
“It breaks your heart when you see some of these old orange juice factories that are shut down, jobs lost. Transitioning those industries to something new,” said bill sponsor Senator Rob Bradley.
Medical marijuana activist Louis Rotundo says citrus growers aren’t necessarily the most qualified to grow the plant.
“Those people don’t end to have much of a background in indoor growing, which is where this law requires you to be,” said Rotundo.
Bill sponsor Representative Ray Rodrigues disagrees.
“Some would argue it is easier to grow marijuana than any other plant. It’s not called weed without there being a valid reason to that,” said Rodrigues.
The bill still doesn’t allow for smokable marijuana.
“Breathing in soot, breathing in ash, carries a definite detriment, which we didn’t want to extend to medical marijuana,” said Representative Carey Pigman,
Democrats offered a smoking amendment.
It failed.
Representative Evan Jenne says without smoking,  lawsuits are guaranteed.
“There will be folks that get and earful that they did not support smokable marijuana,” said Jenne.
The text of the amendment only mentions smoking once.
It bans smoking in public.
Jenne says the language implies smoking is allowed in other contexts.
John Morgan, one of the main backers of amendment 2, has sworn to sue the state if smoking isn’t in the final version of the bill.

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