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Florida State Sen. Introduces MMJ Overhaul

Florida state Sen. Jeff Brandes has introduced legislation that would totally reform the state’s medical marijuana program, according to a Sunshine State News report. The “Florida Medical Marijuana Act” would increase the number of medical marijuana treatment centers allowed in the state and create four new types of licenses for those businesses.

“The laws on the books today promote a state-sanctioned cartel system that limits competition, inhibits access, and results in higher prices for patients,” Brandes, a Republican, said in the report. “Florida should focus on what is best for patients.”

During last November’s election, voters passed an initiative that provided for a more comprehensive medical cannabis system, expanding patient access and available products. Lawmakers and the Florida Department of Health have up to nine months to develop new industry regulations and six months to amend the current laws.

Under Brandes’ plan, dispensaries would have cultivation, transportation, processing, and retail licenses, and would be able to hold a combination of those licenses. Current law permits one retail license per 25,000 residents for each county.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, said the proposal “does an excellent job of establishing a comprehensive tightly regulated” medical cannabis program in the state.

“The two most essential pieces of implementation are maintaining the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship, and expanding the marketplace to serve patient access. SB 614 does both in a well-regulated, well thought out manner,” he said.

Additionally, the measure would allow the University of Florida to conduct research on the use of cannabis as a treatment for animals with seizure disorders “or other life-limiting illnesses,” barring state funds from being used for that purpose.

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