Florida: Jeb Bush opposes marijuana Amendment 2

“Former Governor Jeb Bush has joined a growing list of GOP and law-enforcement officials lining up against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow doctors to order marijuana for patients. Bush went public with his concerns about Amendment 2, which will be on the November ballot and is heavily bankrolled by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan,” report Brandon Larrabee and Dara Kam from the News Service of Florida.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said in the statement. “Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Use of marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in Florida for 23-years. During the 2014 session the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 1030, which approves the medication CBD (a derivative of marijuana called cannabadiol), and SB 1700, which protects the identities of the patients who use it. Governor Rick Scott signed the two bills into law on July 16, 2014.

The Office of Compassionate Use has been tasked to create processes and procedures to implement the legislation. The intent is to have only those with a clear and verified medical need receive CBD and the quality of CBD is controlled.

Larrabee and Kam report:

Florida health officials are not bowing to pressure from lobbyists, lawyers and nursery owners interested in growing the non-euphoric type of medical marijuana recently authorized by the Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott. The Department of Health issued the notice for a proposed rule on Thursday after holding two workshops on the issue. The department will have a hearing on the proposed rule Sept. 5.”

Lawmakers gave the state’s “Office of Compassionate Use” until January 1, 2015 to come up with a regulatory framework for getting into the hands of patients a strain of marijuana that is low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD.

Parents of children who suffer from rare forms of epilepsy pushed lawmakers to legalize the low-THC cannabis because there is evidence that it can dramatically reduce potentially life-threatening seizures. Florida’s new law will also make the substance, usually administered as an oil or paste, available to other patients with severe spasms or cancer if their doctors order it.

The proposed rule closely mirrors a draft released earlier this month, but includes some more details about a much-griped-about lottery system for awarding five licenses to dispensing organizations, which would also grow the marijuana, process the extract and distribute the product to patients.

In regions where more than one qualified applicant meets other requirements, “the department will provide a computer program method for a double random lottery-type selection by public drawing to designate the approved applicant and the rank order of other applications within each dispensing region.”

Lawyers representing at least one grower threatened to challenge the rule if the lottery selection method isn’t dropped.

Also under the proposed rule, dispensing organizations could deliver the product directly to patients anywhere in the state as long as they have an approved transportation plan, but still would be restricted to selling the product from buildings on the property where the marijuana is grown.

Some growers say that could be a problem because most nurseries are located in rural areas zoned for agricultural and wholesale operations only and are not allowed to conduct retail sales.

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