You’d think the Sunshine State would’ve learned its lesson by now. But Florida legislators find themselves amidst another battle with marijuana advocates over tinkering with the delivery methods over medical marijuana. This week the House pushed a bill that would place a THC cap on smokable marijuana for patients, which led to “fiery exchanges with veterans and patient advocates who accused a legislative leader of relying on faulty research,” according the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Republicans were in favor of the bill while Democrats opposed it, reports Marijuana Business Daily. Despite the pushback from Dems, advocates, and veterans alike, the House Appropriations Committee approved the measure nonetheless. As a result, it’s headed to the House floor for a vote.
The plan revolving around a THC cap comes on the heels of legislators lifting the ban of smokable marijuana for medical patients less than a month ago. That ban resulted in a years-long controversy for the state, which included multiple losses in state courts, and only ended thanks to newly-elected Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis demanding legislators do so.
But it appears history will repeat itself in the Sunshine State, as politicians hold the line on misinformed agendas. Rep. Ray Rodrigues invited what is sure to be a new controversy for the state government after basing the new bill (HB 7117) on research that claimed cannabis with less than 10 percent THC still helped patients and other studies that suggested higher levels of THC would induce psychosis in patients.
“There’s absolutely science that shows the product of medical cannabis that’s 10 percent or less of THC is helpful for medical conditions. I’m a believer. I was an agnostic on that when we passed the constitutional amendment. I’ve studied the science, and I’ve been led to believe that absolutely there’s a benefit from that,” Rodrigues said prior to the committee vote.
However, the Sun Sentinel reports that “scientists who work for one of the state’s licensed medical marijuana operators dispute the findings in the research cited by Rodrigues.” For example, the study revolving around cannabis inducing psychosis didn’t hold as much scientific weight as mainstream media headlines might’ve claimed, which we’ve previously explained here.
Such a THC cap could further drive illicit black-market sales, opponents of the measure also argued. While the bill would provide free medical marijuana cards for veterans in an attempt to sweeten the deal, Jimmy Johnston, a veteran and president of the North Florida chapter of Weed for Warriors Project, argued it’s a carrot being dangled that would only save vets $75 a year.
“A bill that was supposed to be about helping a community that is plagued with drug addiction and drug overdose … a bill that was supposed to be about helping a veteran community that is plagued (with) suicide is now being used as leverage by lawmakers to try and impose their will on the people,” Johnston said.