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House budget committee unanimously passed medical pot bill, with reservations

After vigorous questioning about the potential misuse of non-regulated marijuana, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously voted to let a non-euphoric strain of pot be developed and sold legally in Florida.

The committee also sanctioned a $1 million one-time appropriation to pay for university-based research into the long-term effects of the substance on children with intractable epilepsy.

The bill opens the door to allowing growers in Colorado to license their technology to Florida growers and give people in possession of the cannabis immunity from prosecution if they can meet certain conditions.

Among the conditions: show that they have medical condition and a doctor has proscribed the use of the marijuana strain, the strain can be shown to contain no more than .05 percent of the euphoric component known as THC but high in the therapeutic properties known as CBD.

Law enforcement would have the ability to take representative samples from growers six times a year.

Peyton Moseley, whose 11-year-old daughter ReyAnn has intractable epilepsy, told the committee his daughter and wife had planned to travel from their home in Pensacola to attend the hearing Thursday. But, after ReyAnn spent all of Wednesday having seizures, his wife dropped him off in Tallahassee and rushed to ShandsHospital in Gainesville.

“This morning was one of those mornings where we were blessed that she woke up,’’ he said, then thanked them for keeping an open mind.

The Moseleys are among the families who have traveled to Colorado to see the cultivation and production of the strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web,’’ named after a child whose epileptic seizures reduced dramatically after she was treated with an oil-based form of the drug.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-FortWaltonBeach and Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, has won the support of the Florida Sheriff’s Association but continues to face steep opposition from the Florida Medical Association.

Backing the measure is also Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-MerrittIsland, and the incoming House speaker. He quietly spoke to reluctant legislators to approve the research money and let future committees work out policy concerns.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said they were faced with a dilemma – endanger the lives of more children without it, or find a way to “thread this needle” and create a workable regulatory framework.

“I don’t want to be the next pill mill on steroids but it’sa cautious walk forward,’’ he said.

Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said had concerns that the bill may send the message that lawmakers are giving a “stamp of approval” to marijuana but also didn’t want to “deny relief to the people who are suffering.”

“What we are approving is a very limited strain of marijuana that will give a quality of life, and living, and health care to a limited number of people,’’ he said. He acknowledged, however, that the proposal doesn’t go far enough by allowing other ailments to be researched that might benefit from this.

Comments

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Redundant

Too little and too late - send these politicians back to school. Prohibition did not work for booze in the 20's and 30's and marijuana is much less dangerous than the cocktails they sip every evening.

Fire

Unreal they spend this much time and tax payers money for this rare diseases that only a few children will benefit from when there are hundreds of thousands of citizens that could benefit from medical marijuana. Sounds like these politicians are doing everything they can to hold their jobs. The people see right through what is going on. C-Ya November 4th, 2014.

Ed Jenkins

As we have seen the people are incensed that these political leaders are threatening to introduce dangerous illegal drugs into our family friendly state and demand that these addictive drugs remain out of our state. The people have been very pleased by reductions of dangerous tobacco smoke and the last thing they want to see is even more dangerous illegal drugs made available that dealers will use to target our innocent children.

Hmmmm...

I don't understand how this works... 11 year olds will be smoking a joint?

Bill Thompson

Scott and the GOP controlled legislature continue to push through their 2014 agenda of legalizing pot, giving in-state college tuition breaks to illegal aliens and expanding casino gambling. Must be an election year.

Raretomes

Hmmmm - They won't be smoking a joint... milk and brownies.

Pablo

Milk and brownies...Yum.

a parent's perspective

This is not a joke. As a parent of a child with intractable seizures, there is nothing funny about finding a possible cure. Keep politics out of this. The CBD is extracted purely for medical purposes and there is no traditional 'drug' effect on the child. I can't see how a restricted piece of legislation which makes this available in very limited cases threatens the greater population of children in our communities. Sometimes, it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind.

anonymous

As a grandparent that has seen seizures in my 4 year old grandson, we will try anything that will stop the seizures. If it happens to be medical marijuana so be it. For all the parents that have the same situation,my heart goes out to you
For all the naysayers out there, it is not a njoke and if you make any wisecrack comments, go to hell!

Redundant

My apologies to parents and grandparents of ill children. This is a very good bill and my sincere hope is that it will promptly provide some relief for these children. My flippant remarks were to the larger question and have no relevance to this discussion.

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