Rick Scott Signs Medical Marijuana Plan

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Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into a law a constitutional amendment SB 8-A to implement Florida’s medical marijuana plan, now seven months into its initial voter approval. 

The legislation allows patients who endure chronic pain related to 10 qualifying conditions including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis to receive either low-THC cannabis or full-strength medical marijuana. 

The law allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and vape pens with a doctor’s approval, but bans smoking.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, who helped get the amendment on the ballot and passed, said he intends to sue the state for not allowing smoking, the Associated Press reported.

"There are four places listed in the amendment that call for smoking," Morgan said. "I don't know why they would object to anyone on their death bed wanting to use what they wanted to relieve pain and suffering." 

The law limits licenses to grow marijuana to 17, and each license holder is limited to 25 dispensaries. For every 100,000 new eligible patients added to the registry, another license will become available.

There are seven growers currently licensed in Florida, with ten to be added by October. Trulieve and Surterra are two of the seven. Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve told the AP that they are reviewing the bill before determining their next steps, Jake Bergmann, founder and CEO of Surterra, doesn’t see an issue with the plan’s structure for market growth.

"There is a way to grow as the patients grow (four new dispensaries per 100,000 patients). If you have something that grows as patient access grows, it is pretty smart," Bergmann told the AP.

SB 8-Aallows for the establishment of medical marijuana testing laboratories, and establishes the Coalition for Medical Marijuana Research and Education within the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and roughly $750,000 of an appropriation of more than $15 million.

The bill passed 103-9 in the House and 29-6 in the Senate on the final day of a special session earlier this month before Scott signed it into law on Friday, among 38 bills total.