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Florida Lawmakers Convene Special Session to Take on MMJ Bills

After Florida lawmakers failed to pass a voter-mandated medical cannabis expansion bill during the regular session, the responsibility was moved to the Health Department; however, the legislature has called a special session and reached an agreement on the law with plans to vote on the measure by the end of the week, the Miami Herald reports.

The deal, though, has drawn the ire of activists because it doesn’t allow smoking – providing instead for vaping, edibles, and oils.

John Morgan, the Orlando lawyer who bankrolled the Amendment 2 campaign, said if the bill is enacted as is, he will sue the state.

“Done is better than perfect and this is far from perfect,” he wrote in a blog post on Medium. “I will be suing the state to allow smoke. It was part of my amendment.”

If approved as is, 10 new medical cannabis cultivation licenses would be granted in the state. Those licenses would be available only to companies that were previously denied operation access in the state. Currently, there are just seven licensed operators in Florida. Each grower would be allowed to open up to 25 dispensaries.

Ben Pollara, executive director for Florida for Care, an advocacy group that worked on the Amendment 2 campaign, said the “bill is not perfect” but was hopeful that the flaws could be addressed in a future session.

“The critical need is for the House and Senate to send a bill to the governor so that patient access can expand in Florida,” he said in the report.

The amendment will expand the qualifying condition list to include HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other, similar conditions, and lawmakers included terminally ill patients, regardless of condition, as well as chronic pain caused by one of the conditions included in the amendment. Chronic pain on its own is not included in the legislative deal.

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