This week we’re going to see two bills moving in the Florida House of Representatives. HB 1313 will add new rules and regulations to the low-THC legislation passed in 2014. We are pleased to report that as part of that legislation, 25 children are currently enrolled in a trial with imported cannabis oil and all 25 have gotten therapeutic results.
However, we’re concerned about HB1313. It will allow the Florida Department of Agriculture to approve pesticides for the growing of cannabis. The five businesses that got licenses clearly agreed to grow pesticide-free cannabis and this end round on the rules is dangerous for vulnerable patients and an unfair business practice.
Also up this week is HB 307 the Right to Try. Under this piece of legislation, terminally ill patients will be able to use cannabis grown and distributed by our licensed dispensaries. It is a real game changer.
This bill, HB 307, would allow the licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis – not just low-THC cannabis, but the THC types too. A move by our friend Representative Bracy of Orlando and supported by the members of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee amended the bill to allow up to 20 licensed dispensaries.
Business is driving the cannabis train now. The ones who have a license want to limit the number of licenses and grow the whole plant not just low THC and the ones who didn’t get a license want more licenses, the whole plant and more patients. Anyone who wants to sell cannabis wants to expand the number of conditions who qualify under the law.Remember, patients equal customers.
Patients who would use cannabis for their medical condition are center stage in Tallahassee this year. Now that five businesses are licensed to grow, process, and distribute cannabis, it is “game on”. Will we increase the universe of patients who can buy cannabis before we increase the number of licenses? That really is the only question lawmakers are asking. Florida CAN is still asking, “When will we stop arresting adult for cannabis cultivation, possession and use?”
Cathy Jordan and I are back in Tallahassee for our fifth year. Josephine Cannella-Krehl is working closely with us this session. This year 15 bills were introduced that would directly impact the cannabis community. True to form, not everything introduced actually gets a hearing, but several have a strong possibility of becoming law. We’re tracking all the bills through our Twitter and Facebook feeds available through our Let Florida Decide project.
You haven’t heard much from Florida CAN these last few months. We’re going through a serious shaking up at the office. Our volunteer staff does what we can to keep you informed while we implement our strategy, promote the whole plant and protect those who chose to use this plant in advance of the changing laws.
Since last spring we lost David Jones, our communications director to a great job in Washington state; Carolyn’s new grand baby was born with health concerns and Josh, our development director was diagnosed with lymphoma. Even one of our board members is challenged with a loved one with cancer. For us, removing the barriers to cannabis is always personal.
In other news, our Florida CAN’s legislative team has been invited to present side panels at the United Nations Conference on Drugs coming up in April. It will cost us several thousand dollars in hotels and transportation for the staff and our presenters. Right now the DEA interprets the Single Convention Treaty to say the lowest the US can scheduled cannabis is Schedule 2. States on the other hand are not subject to the treaty.
We are proposing three panels - Rethinking Cannabis Prohibition;Cannabis Scheduling: Where does it belong?; and Cannabis: Rites and Traditional Indigenous Uses. If you have resources to help make these panels more dynamic or the financial resources we need to make them a reality, this is your invitation to participate. Call the office or contact us via e-mail about getting involved in this exciting new opportunity. The Single Convention Treaty is up for review in 2019 and we want to put our right to cannabis on the agenda!
We’re going to continue to support the right of adults to cannabis and champion safe, legal access to cannabis for patients young and old. If you can make a donation to help us continue this good work click here.
Thanks for your continued support!