Republican Senator (!) files medical marijuana bill in Tallahassee, the state freaks out


So, while we were typing, something amazing happened today. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a bill in the legislature to extend the legalization of medical marijuana from just the sad drawings of Charlotte's Web to a more comprehensive, THC-laced kind of healing for those in need of reprieve. The summary of SB 528 reads as follows, but you can find the full, long PDF link here. 

"Medical Use of Marijuana; Citing this act as “The Florida Medical Marijuana Act”; allowing registered patients and designated caregivers to purchase, acquire, and possess medical-grade marijuana subject to specified requirements; allowing a cultivation and processing licensee, employee, or contractor to acquire, cultivate, transport, and sell marijuana under certain circumstances; allowing a retail licensee to purchase, receive, possess, store, dispense, and deliver marijuana under certain circumstances; specifying registration requirements for a patient identification card, etc."

Thanks, Sen. Brandes!!!!! After losing the Amendment 2 fight in November by a scant 3 percent, it's a real boon for what is both a philanthropic and economically intelligent initiative, and that has not been lost on supporters of medical marijuana. The statements keep pouring in, so we thought we'd share them with you.

Joint statement from Ben Pollara, Jeff Sharkey and Taylor Patrick Biehl Regarding the Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes

(Miami, FL) The heads of the two largest medical marijuana advocacy groups in Tallahassee issued the following combined statement regarding medical marijuana legislation filed today by Sen. Jeff Brandes:

"While our respective organizations have different memberships and missions, we share a common purpose: advocating for sick and suffering Floridians to gain access and ultimately relief in the form of medical marijuana. We applaud the courage of Sen. Brandes introducing this important legislation (SB 528) and look forward to fighting side by side with him to bring comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana policy to Florida."

Mr. Pollara is the executive director of Florida for Care and Mr. Sharkey and Mr. Biehl are the co-founders of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida. Together, these two organizations represent the largest number of patients, businesses and volunteers advocating for a comprehensive medical marijuana policy in Florida.
Florida for Care Applauds Senate Bill 528; Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes

(Tallahassee, FL) Today Florida for Care applauded the filing of Senate Bill 528, a piece of comprehensive medical marijuana legislation drafted and filed by Senator Jeff Brandes, the Republican representing District 22. “We are very excited to see Sen. Brandes file this important piece of legislation. Sen. Brandes has taken a courageous step in service of making the voice of Floridians heard on this issue”, said Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care.

One such voice is that of Sheriff Jim Manfre (Flagler County) whose mother suffered from cancer, "I'm very encouraged by Sen. Brandes' bill. As a sheriff and as the son of a cancer survivor, responsible, comprehensive, medical marijuana legislation is critically important to me. I hope my fellow sheriffs will see this bill in the same light and work towards consensus on this issue which is deeply personal to many Floridians, as it is to me."

The bill is considerably more comprehensive than previously passed Senate Bill 1030, which allowed only for a low-THC, high-CBD strain of marijuana that would primarily help those suffering with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. “While SB 1030 was monumental in that our legislature-for the first time- recognized marijuana as medicine, it simply did not help all sick and suffering Floridians in the way that Sen. Brandes’ bill would, if passed,” stated Dan Rogers, Director of Legislative Affairs for Florida for Care.

The bill has been identified by many as an alternative to a constitutional amendment in 2016. Pollara stated, “The message we heard again and again was that medical marijuana should become law through legislation rather than constitutional amendment, Sen. Brandes’ bill appears to be a significant step towards accomplishing that goal.”
John Morgan Encouraged by today's legislation on Medical Marijuana

John Morgan released the following statement today, reacting to Sen. Jeff Brandes filing comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in the Florida Senate:
"I am extraordinarily encouraged by Sen. Brandes introducing this important piece of legislation. He has clearly heard and respects the voice of the vast majority of Floridians who want to see a compassionate medical marijuana law in our state. I sincerely hope that with his leadership the legislature will finally act on this issue in the upcoming session. My brother Tim and hundreds of thousands of suffering Floridians like him, are counting on it.”

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