Joint Marijuana Legalization Bills Filed in FloridaBy Thomas H. Clarke March 3, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Two bills to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults have been filed in Florida.
If passed, Senate Bill 1562, sponsored by Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), would allow people 21 or older to cultivate six marijuana plants and legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
The bill would also create a regulatory system to oversee the sale and taxation of marijuana, and rename the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to the Department of Alcoholic Beverages, Marijuana, and Tobacco, who would be responsible for the licensing and regulation of recreational marijuana sales.
A companion bill, House Bill 1039, was filed in the House by Rep. Randolph Bracy (D-Orange County).
The bill comes as a major push for medical marijuana is underway in the Sunshine State. The legislature is considering two separate proposals to allow medical marijuana in the state, while a ballot initiative will appear before voters in November, who could decide once and for all the fate of medical marijuana in Florida.
Of the two medical marijuana options pending in Tallahassee, Senate Bill 962, along with identical companion legislation House Bill 859, would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state, similar to a proposal being presented to voters in November. The joint legislation, backed by Democrats in the Republican dominated legislature, would specify tight state regulation for doctors to prescribe marijuana for treatment of conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS and other severe afflictions.
The second option, supported by Republican lawmakers, would allow a high CBD strain of cannabis to be given to children suffering from severe epilepsy and other illnesses.
Meanwhile, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana in Florida will appear on the November ballot. Needing 60% support to pass, the amendment would legalize medical marijuana in Florida.
Polls show the ballot proposal has a strong chance of success. If the amendment passes, the 2015 Legislature will have to pass implementing legislation specifying “how will we grow it, how will people who need it get access to it and how will those who are seeking to abuse it receive consequences.”
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