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The bill also lowers the barriers to entry for doctors wishing to participate in the program and sets up independent labs to test the product.
"We have treated this like medicine," Rodrigues says. "We're honoring the doctor-patient relationship. We're not taxing it; we're not using this as a revenue source. We're pre-empting local governments so they can't ban growth of marijuana. ... We have a tightly regulated market because that's what the federal government requires so they don't pursue enforcement."
Despite Rodrigues' bill, Pollara says he's still optimistic about this legislative session.
"This bill just came out, so it's not the end," he says. "This is a disappointing beginning, but I'm still hopeful we'll have a good ending to the legislative session and have results that fulfill the will of the people and ultimately, gets some relief to sick and suffering Floridians."
While no other bill has been filed in the House, the most popular proposal in the Senate appears to be the bill filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island. SB 406 is similar to the Rodrigues bill in that it allows patients to have a 90-day supply of marijuana (up from a 45-day supply), modestly increases the number of dispensing organizations in a similar way and eliminates the waiting period for patients.
But Pollara aligns himself more closely with the bill filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, which would scrap the current system and give Florida's medical marijuana market a libertarian makeover. SB 614 would ax the state's "cartel system" that allows seven dispensing organizations to dictate the supply and prices by allowing nurseries, processors and dispensaries to operate separately, Brandes says. The bill also allows smaller businesses that aren't multimillion-dollar companies to participate, he adds.
"I think the 71 percent of Floridians who voted for medical marijuana weren't voting for businesses," he says. "There were voting for patients. I think my bill is a voice for free markets because it will allow multiple growers, multiple dispensaries, and a number of processors. It changes the whole concept from being vertically integrated, which is where most of the bills are, to horizontally integrated, which means if you're a good grower, then grow, but you don't have to do everything else."
The Brandes proposal would allow local governments to ban dispensaries within their borders, but prohibits similar measures taken against home deliveries. The senator's bill would also let patients smoke medical marijuana, a stark contrast against the House plan.
"[Rodrigues] banned edibles, smokables and vaporizing," Brandes says. "The joke in our office is the only thing he allows is suppositories."
The House bill could lead to lawsuits, according to Brandes, and is more likely to be ruled unconstitutional under the guidelines in Amendment 2.
"I think it's important that the Legislature understand what the public wants here and what the public intended when they voted for this," he says. "We had the ultimate poll when we put it on the ballot. Now we have to ask, 'Well, did you vote for what would be considered some of the most restrictive laws in the country, or did you vote for something other than that?' And I think they voted to put patients first."
Meanwhile, Bruno is learning to crawl.