Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sen Don Gaetz Backs Medical Marijuana Bill

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz has announced that he will support medical marijuana. This means medical marijuana will get a vote in the Senate.

“As a father myself, I am unwilling to require these parents to be criminals in order to get treatment for their children,” he said. “As the father of Rep. Matt Gaetz, I am proud of my son for his political courage in fighting for these families as they fight for their children’s lives.”

Gaetz's son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, is the sponsor of House Bill 843. The text of the bill.

An act relating to cannabis; amending s. 893.02, F.S.; revising the definition of the term "cannabis" for purposes of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act and applicable to certain criminal offenses proscribing the sale, manufacture, delivery, possession, or purchase of cannabis, to which penalties apply; providing an effective date.

Translation: marijuana prescribed for medical purposes will no longer be a criminal offense under the bill.

There are problems facing HB 843. House Speaker has given no indication that he would support the bill. Gov. Rick Scott would most likely veto the bill. Scott and Weatherford were both against the ballot initiative making medical marijuana legal. Sen. Don Gaetz was against the ballot initiative. His support of his son's bill is a big step in making medical marijuana legal. The ballot initiative is still the most likely way to make medical marijuana legal. The ballot language.

Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

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