State Sen. Jeff Brandes and state Rep. Ray Rodrigues confirmed Wednesday they’ve reached an accord on a proposition that would enable patients to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for smoking each 35 days, prohibit smoking of medical marijuana in public places and let terminally ill children to smoke that the treatment, but only as long as they have a second opinion from a nurse.
After taking office in January, DeSantis gave the Legislature until March 15 to remove the smoking ban. If lawmakers don’t behave, DeSantis has threatened to fall the state’s appeal of a court decision that found the prohibition ran afoul of a voter-approved constitutional change that broadly legalized medical marijuana.
Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, registered an amendment late Tuesday that’s a blueprint for its reform of the smoking prohibition. He called the entire Senate could amend its smoking-ban legislation and take a floor vote as soon as Thursday.
But following DeSantis introduced the ultimatum, the House made a set of concessions to achieve a compromise with the Senate, which has taken a less-restrictive strategy toward medical marijuana.
For example, the House version could have restricted medical marijuana dispensaries to selling pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes, together with other cannabis-based merchandise not used for smoking.
Under the revised strategy, dispensaries can sell any sort of smokable marijuana, and sufferers may buy devices to smoke cannabis at state-licensed medical marijuana therapy centers or alternative retail outlets, such as mind shops.
The Senate, meanwhile, given into the House by consenting to limits on how far smokable cannabis patients can buy at the same time, as well as a cap on the entire amount patients may have.
“The House’s concern is that we think the folks voted for medical marijuana. We do not think the folks voted for recreational marijuana, and when there is no limit, then the concern is that there could be an excess amount of product that’s out there. We consider that could be diverted for recreational purposes,” said Rodrigues, who has long been a House leader on medical-marijuana problems.
“Of course there’s likely to be some on either side which aren’t satisfied. But we spent working on these issues,” Brandes told the News Service.
Brandes estimated that the 2.5-ounce limit per order will meet the needs of the huge majority of patients.
“But there are going to be more outliers, and we’ve created exceptions to all those outliers,” he said.
Brandes said he has not spoken with DeSantis about the revised bill. But the governor’s office has received”each major revision” to the medical marijuana proposals and that most of his”major issues” have been addressed, Brandes said.