Florida Legislature Finally Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Florida Legislature Finally Passes Medical Marijuana Bill”

You can bet that our school board and administrators are watching Tallahassee carefully during this three-day special session - and wondering out loud how much more of a mess the legislature can make of education funding by the deadline this afternoon.

The state Senate on Friday approved a bill that would implement the state's constitutional amendment expanding the use of medical marijuana on a vote of 28-8.

The House on Friday voted 107-6 for a school funding measure. The Senate also wants to restore some budget cuts to hospitals. The call focused on funding for education and economic development.

In private negotiations in recent weeks, Corcoran agreed to Scott's demands for $76 million for VISIT Florida's tourism efforts and for the new job fund in hopes that Scott would sign HB 7069.

Negron's rant to reporters was an act of defiance against an increasingly hostile House.

The midnight phone call to Senate President Joe Negron from Florida Gov. Rick Scott on June 1st was not unexpected.

That is down from an original $75 million for 19 projects that were vetoed by Scott when he signed the new $82 billion state budget last week. The Senate has its eyes on in the increased assessed value of local property taxes.

Scott's deal with legislative leaders called for changes to those agencies, but they would not be eliminated as some legislators had wanted.

Scott, who has been a sideline player almost every legislative session, quickly joined the criticism and chided the way the bill was passed, but he refrained from making a commitment about whether he would sign or veto it. Visit Florida was to get $25 million. "(The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund) is a big, handsome package. It's a slush fund. Now a distant reality, Rep. Evan Jenne noted, "there will be folks that get an earful that they did not support smokable marijuana".

Although the money can not be used to benefit any single company, there are no restrictions on where Scott directs the infrastructure or job training projects, especially in a campaign year.

And in a surprise move, legislators passed a bill that would put rules in place for medical marijuana, which voters approved last November. Asked whether there was a deal linking that bill to his priorities during the special session, Scott said: "I'm still reviewing the bills".

Bradley's legislation is part of a deal struck between House and Senate members, legislators said. "Now we have a framework to deliver implementation of Amendment Two". Although observers expected medical marijuana to be added to the agenda, lawmakers continue to disagree over key elements: how many retail dispensaries a treatment center could open and whether cannabis would be subject to sales tax. There has been little action seen thus far on the House bill filed by Rodrigues.

A disagreement about how many dispensaries the pot operators should be allowed to run caused a potential deal to collapse six weeks ago.

Others chimed in, saying Friday was the first step on the path to getting medical marijuana right in the Sunshine State.

"Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any correctional institution or detention facility or place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place", the amendment reads.

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