Reefer Madness on Capitol Hill in Florida

From limiting THC content to allowing people to grow it themselves, Florida lawmakers have introduced 28 bills focused on marijuana regulation in 2021. 

Some, like House Bill (HB) 1455, want to limit the amount of THC (the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant) that medical marijuana products sold in Florida can contain, as well as tax and enhance age restrictions on cannabis medicine. 

On the other hand, legislation such as HB1361 would legalize marijuana and allow adults to grow up to six cannabis plants in their home (even in their yard). 

Those are the two extremes, but there are a slew of other bills dealing with how the current market is regulated, including one that would open up more small business opportunities and create a wholesale medical marijuana market, similar to how other states have done. 

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Other bills would remove some criminal penalties, allow resentencing for some marijuana-related offenses and allow for the suppression of records of some marijuana crimes so the offenses do not overly affect an offender’s lodging or employment opportunities later in life. HB335 would offer job protections for public employees that are medical marijuana patients. 

Looks like the Florida state legislature will be talking a lot about marijuana these next two months. Or will they? 

Many of the bills mentioned have been assigned to multiple congressional committees. That means that in order for the bill to make it to the floor to even be heard and voted on it first has to win not just one, but a series of smaller votes. The more committees a bill is assigned, the less likely it will make it to the floor, and ultimately pass. 

It’s what’s they call “kill it in committee” and rest assured its politics as usual. This is why so many advocate for a constitutional vote to legalize cannabis, much the same way medical cannabis was legalized in Florida in 2016. 

But is it the only way? Is there another way the will of the people can be realized, without a vote? Stranger things have happened. 

Each of these congressional committees is made up of elected officials. It is one of their job requirements to meet with their constituents who come to their office. Outside of massive campaign contributions, these visits hold the most power to influence a member of congress. The trick is, you MUST live in the county of the member you plan to meet. They are, after all, concerned with re-election and only constituents count. 

If your representative is unavailable to meet, you may try setting up a zoom call. It might be a long shot, but you’d be surprised how much politicians care about reelection. You may just get it.

Giving them a call the old fashioned way on the telephone is another great alternative. 

But what do I say?” Great question! 

The best thing to do is express your support or non-support of specific legislation – name a specific bill and keep it simple. “I support this and I do not support that. Here’s why.” Stick to two bills. Here’s a cheat sheet:

JUST SAY NO to HB1445: Caps THC and adds Taxes 
JUST SAY YES to HB1361: Legalize Marijuana for Adults including homegrow / home cultivation of up to six plants 

The rest of the bills can be found here.

Legislative session (the time when state lawmakers get together in Tallahassee to make laws) begins March 2 and lasts through April 30. 
You can click the following link to find your representative. 

Check out the Beta version of our new cannabis network here.


Why THC Limits and Medical Marijuana Taxes Need to Be Stopped

I’m going to inject my opinion about the Florida legislature’s recent efforts to cap THC content for MEDICAL marijuana at 10%, as well as impose a rather hefty tax. 

After seven years of serving as a Florida Registered Nurse (in the hospital, home health and 4 years in Medical Marijuana), it’s clear to me that we have two major health crises here in Florida that need to be addressed immediately: opioid addiction and the lack of mental health care. 

When I worked in the hospital, I had patients who would injure themselves deliberatley so that they could be re-admitted and receive pain medication. They were addicted to them. We lost so many patients as a result of addiction and the insane amount of pharmaceutical medications prescribed by physicians, paired with the increasing tolerance of patients.  Some of my closest friends have had their lives ruined over the use of legally prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines.  But we don’t see them making any effort to stop that, do we?  What’s their real agenda?

Let’s first discuss the 10% THC cap on MEDICAL marijuana. 

Isn’t that discriminatory against patients, like myself, who receive the most relief from smoking medicine?  Smokable cannabis flower provides me with the immediate relief I just can’t get from other methods.  I use MEDICAL marijuana for debilitating pain associated with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries syndrome, as well as for treating anxiety and major depressive disorder.  The THC percentage range that works best for me is 18-22%.  What do they propose I do to feel relief? Like many others, pharmaceuticals never worked for me. They made me feel numb.  Why is there no effort to limit the strength of pharmaceutical medications being prescribed that are harming our citizens?

Now let’s talk about this hefty tax on MEDICAL marijuana. 

We must consider that PATIENTS are paying an annual fee of $75 to the state and are required to pay out of pocket – not covered by insurance – for the doctor referral.

PEOPLE are SUFFERING and DYING, not only those dealing with addiction or mental health issues, but also their family, friends, co-workers and communities.  Some of these people could benefit from medical marijuana. 

Many have lost their businesses/jobs due to current climate of our world.  Why would they want to place hefty taxes on these people who are suffering?  Is it because they have the option to get free, not to mention addictive pharmaceuticals from our government?  Hmmm. 

Let’s not forget recreational dispensaries were closed in other states being deemed non-essential and non-addictive, while liquor stores stayed open because of the severe withdrawal and addiction.  

Forget the taxes, we need to allow home grow!

We all need to wake up our leaders as to the false stigma that has been placed on cannabis.


Follow this link to find your rep.